St. Joseph Church

Mrs. Berdan - 5th Grade


Mrs. Holly Berdan

5th Grade

Holly has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Washington State University, and a Masters Degree in Reading Curriculum from Grand Canyon University. Holly taught high school Horticulture for 6 years in Brewster. She returned to her hometown of Wenatchee and worked as a substitute teacher in the Wenatchee Public Schools. She decided that she really enjoyed working with young kids, and that she wanted to focus on elementary education. Holly came to work at St. Joseph School in 2008, and ironically, the classroom to which she was assigned was the same classroom that she was in as a student, when she attended St. Joseph School. Holly reminisces every day that she enters her classroom, remembering her years as a student here fondly. She says, “it was amazing going to school here. It was a neat place to start. I came away with confidence, skills, knowledge, and a sense of identity. We knew who we were, as people”.

When she graduated from St. Joe’s, she would come back to see her younger siblings in plays and holiday programs, she always felt sentimental. Starting in her junior year of high school, she volunteered at St. Joes every day, doing ‘cross-age tutoring’ with first-graders. School did not come easily for Holly when she was young. She had to work really hard to get good grades. That’s why she enjoys finding ways to help kids to realize ‘their best’, not ‘their neighbor’s best’, and she emphasizes that she does not expect her students to do what their neighbor can do. Holly is a ‘hands-on’ kind of teacher who wants to figure out what learning style is best for each student, and she seeks to help them to discover how to work to their own strengths.

Having taught first in the public school system before coming to work at St. Joe’s, she makes some observations about our students: “the biggest difference I see between students I taught in the public school and the kids here at St. Joe’s is that our students here are thoughtful & respectful, and they have a level of calm about them. These kids are exposed to many of the same societal influences as other kids, but they know right and wrong, and they have a sense of self-respect, respect for others, and a respect for authority because of the Christian environment here”.

Holly has always been an avid reader, and she emphasizes strong reading with her students. She believes that encouraging kids to read is the key to unlocking their potential. She says, “I like to think that I can put a GOOD BOOK in any kid’s hands, regardless of their interests or abilities. Reading also encourages them to use their creativity. It is refreshing to hear the kids describe analogies to God and our faith that they find in their stories”.  


Class Courses:

  • Physical Education
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Art