The Beer family has an unusual thing in common when it comes to school. Parents Josie and Catham worked at Tooele High School while each of their three children attended there, and now they are both grad students in the Education Leadership and Foundations Program while their children are undergraduates at BYU.
“We’ve been bothering them for a while,” Josie joked.
As an undergraduate, Josie wanted to coach sports in schools, so she decided to major in history teaching. Catham, on the other hand, originally planned to study constitutional law. Over time, he decided he wanted to be more involved with his children while they were growing up. After speaking with some of his teachers from high school and working at the Missionary Training Center, he made the switch to become a social studies teacher.
“We are all very invested in each other's success, and so it is helpful to have family members who listen and can laugh together about our experiences,” Josie Beer said.
Both Josie and Catham were approached by their principal about attending the Aspiring Principals Academy, which explores paths to principalship for teachers. The pair both felt that BYU’s education leadership and foundations program was the right fit for them.
“I realized BYU’s focus on Head-Hand-Heart along with the integration of gospel principles was a perfect fit,” Catham said.
Head-Hand-Heart is a philosophy that guides the student experience in EdLF graduate courses: students learn theory (head), build skills (hand), and enhance dispositions and approaches (heart) to bless and build all of God’s children, now and in the future.
That’s also the goal of Josie and Catham Beer, who hope to work either in district administration or school administration after completing their master’s programs. Catham noted that the program has helped remind him that he is “in the business of educating and influencing individuals,” while Josie appreciates the emphasis that the program puts on personal relationships.
As a family that studies together, conversations around the dinner table rotate around homework, BYU football, and perspectives gained in their classes, the couple said.
“The conversations we have go back and forth about homework, assignments, midterms, and projects,” Josie said. “Sometimes we joke about whose program is most difficult, but in the end, it is nice to know that we are all going through education programs to grow and progress.”
In fact, the only place this family is far apart is at BYU football games, in which the kids watch football from the ROC section while Josie and Catham have their own seats elsewhere—and even that is just a physical, not an emotional, separation. The Beer family loves being involved and invested in each other’s educations and lives.
“It is a strange situation that we never thought we’d be in; however, it certainly gives us all something in common,” Josie said. “We are all very invested in each other's success, and it is helpful to have family members who listen and can laugh together about our experiences.”