Where Are They Now? : Retired JBS Teachers

Where Are They Now? : Retired JBS Teachers

Brice Shearburn, Reporter

Anne Martin (Fine Arts, 1983-2018)

     Anne Martin made her (probably extravagant) entrance to the JBS community in 1983 after ten years of teaching in various public schools across St. Louis. She was hired and appointed by Ed Cissel as director of landscaping and teacher of Ceramics, Painting and Drawing, Sculpture, and Intensive Arts. Ms. Martin also took on the role of advisor, department chair, and member of the NDCCC (New Dept. Chair Cocktail Club), before it was devastatingly shut down. She coped with this loss by joining the JBS Tricked-Out-Real-Cherry Monster Motorcycle Club before, as she stated, “leaving Jon Bang eating my dust after a little sprint on Clayton Road.”

Ms. Martin (bottom middle) posing with the rest of the art department at Burroughs.

 

     Ms. Martin retired in 2018 and promptly began building animal sculptures in Arkansas with a landscape architect. She explained, “Because he’s also an artist, his mind is always leaping and expanding ideas…What I love is we agree the sculptures will not just represent animals, but they will carry the meaning, irony, and pathos of the proverbs in the composition of the forms.” And, as always, Ms. Martin is still incorporating her chickens into her artwork. “In fact, Fiona, who is 200 years old in people-years, laid an egg the other day,” she revealed. 

     Besides her continual passion in art, sculpture, and chickens, Ms. Martin has also acquired a new hobby: barbecuing. Despite her claims to have purchased every BBQ related accessory possible off of Amazon, she notes with disappointment that her efforts have yielded little reward. On a more serious note, Ms. Martin recently underwent an aortic-bovine valve replacement. Although recovery was very difficult at first, she says she has partaken in plenty of cardiac therapy and joined a gym that she now loves, despite the challenges COVID-19 presents to continue to stay in shape. 

     Although Ms. Martin enjoys her newfound art projects and hobbies, she is sad to no longer teach nor be as present in the Burroughs community, especially with the students. When asked about what she misses the most, she stated, “When I was in high school I loved my art classes and teachers. I remember thinking how much fun it looked and how the teacher would spar with his students and we still learned a lot. Then it happened to me when I taught a student who just cracked me up in class every time he spoke with his dry and clever humor that never made us lose the direction of the lesson. There were/are so many students like that over the years and I guess they’re not for every teacher but I sure enjoyed them.” She added, “I also loved the quiet, dedicated, and talented workers. They never said much, but they didn’t have to. They just understood.” 

 

Prue Gershman (Counseling & Wellness, 2005-2019)

     Mrs. Gershman began at JBS in 2005 as director of counseling and wellness, the faculty sponsor of the Kids Under Twenty-One Club (KUTO), and as the faculty liaison for the Family Network parent education program. In addition to these occupational roles in the school, Mrs. Gershman also has had all three of her children and her daughter-in-law attend JBS, and is generally known, in the words of Grace Thompson (‘20), as “one of the nicest and most welcoming people on campus.” After transitioning into a part-time role in 2015, Mrs. Gershman retired in full last year. 

     Since then, she has kept up with the community and her former colleagues, although she stated, “Not as much as I’d like to — it’s been kind of a crazy year for me, but I definitely have strong bonds there and Burroughs is in my blood.” This previous summer she traveled to France and Scotland to view her eldest son, Charlie, partake in a theatre festival in Edinburgh. Along with travelling, she has continued to keep up with counseling and has involved herself at the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NCADA) part-time.

     Any other time Mrs. Gershman spends is filled with her two grandsons “who are ages 2 and 4 and a total riot”, a “painstakingly slow” deep cleaning of her house during the current quarantine situation, and even more volunteer work with younger children. When asked what she hopes to have left behind as her mark on JBS, she replied, “My goal was to help weave the counseling and wellness department through all the different aspects of the Burroughs community and to make our department a welcoming presence available to all students, faculty, and parents with an emphasis on prevention and responsiveness regarding mental health and wellness, which is easier said than done.” She also stated that “being in such a wonderful and stimulating environment” is what she misses most about the Burroughs community. Ms. Gershman added, “Burroughs will always be in my heart. As much as I gave, I was given exponentially in return.”

 

Christine Marshall (History, 2002-2018) 

     Mrs. Marshall first joined JBS in 2002 after previously having been at Pattonville High School for 32 years. She began at Burroughs as a teacher of US History and World Civ I, but after several years, she switched from US History to 7th grade Social Studies, helping to introduce a new curriculum focusing on environmental issues and world geography, as well as becoming the faculty sponsor for middle school Model UN and the organization of the 7th-grade JBS Model UN Session. 

     Since her retirement in 2018, Mrs. Marshall has continued with two of her favorite hobbies, gardening and reading, and is involved in two book clubs, one of which of course focuses on history and is currently discussing and reading about the tracing of immigration policies in the past. As you can tell, she still maintains her love of social studies and history. In fact, she even traveled to the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum with her husband before visiting the home and ranch that he lived on. She agreed with his biographer, Robert Caro, who noted that “seeing the place where he grew up provides a deeper understanding of him and his presidency”.

I hope those experiences in my classroom will remain fond memories among my former students and inspire them to discover the continued value and joy of reading history.”

— Mrs. Marshall

     Besides her continual pursuit of the humanities, Mrs. Marshall has also begun to learn the guitar and “form an even closer bond” with her two black cats, Bert and Ernie, who “provide a lot of fun and spirit.” Some of their hobbies include “watching nature shows on television, playing with their toy mice, and sitting in sunbeams in their screened window.” Despite furthering her passions in retirement, she admitted, “I truly miss the students and our exploration of so many fascinating topics in history in our discussions and research. Class discussions were dynamic, challenging, thought-provoking, and fun. Along with the students, I miss my former colleagues a lot and appreciate their continued thoughtfulness and friendship.” 

     She also hopes to return to Burroughs as a substitute for History and English classes, and wishes to reconnect with her former students. Upon reflecting on her legacy at JBS, Mrs. Marshall responded with her iconic humor, “I hope those experiences in my classroom will remain fond memories among my former students and inspire them to discover the continued value and joy of reading history. As you recalled, I also find humor in so many experiences and relationships. Many funny moments occurred in my classroom that generated lots of laughter. I believe that learning is enhanced by some lighthearted comments that provide levity and relevance.”