Longtime community member Beth Scherer passed away in April 2022, a few weeks before she posthumously received a leadership award from the Waldorf School where she taught and served as faculty chair.
Excerpted from the Waldorf School of Garden City website:
With the enrollment of her children at The Waldorf School of Garden City 60 years ago, Elizabeth Scherer, along with her husband Joe (also a former member of the Fellowship Community), set off on their own life-changing path. Visiting the school in 1961, it was very clear that this was where the whole family belonged, but there was an issue of meeting tuition costs for Ed (’69) and Rachel (’71). John Gardner, the Faculty Chairman at the time, suggested Beth might serve as the librarian to defray some of the tuition. And with that, a great adventure began which continued until her passing.
As was common in the School’s early biography, an involved and interested parent was sometimes identified as a potential class teacher and trained in-house. After eight years as the Librarian and teaching some high school earth science blocks, Beth was asked to become the 5th grade teacher of the large and active class of ‘77 whom she taught through 8th grade. She next headed down the hallway to 1st grade where the mighty class of '85 awaited her for their journey together through 6th grade. For nearly 50 years, members of both classes corresponded with her and even visited on occasion.
When the need arose for a new Faculty Chair at a time of major school reorganization, the faculty asked Beth to guide the process of rebuilding the faculty, strengthening the parent body, shoring up the finances, and establishing the first Board of Trustees. She even talked her way into Clamdiggers, the then all-male group of Long Island independent school headmasters. During her tenure, she also secured major foundation support for the school, including a grant from the prestigious Ford Foundation. Beth chaired our School until 1982 when she and Joe retired to their beloved family cottage on the coast of Maine. Soon after arriving in Maine, Beth was asked to help found the Maine Coast Waldorf School, guiding them as they hired the first teachers, acquired land, and constructed a new building.
At an award ceremony on May 18th, 2022, Scott Williams, a former student, presented the school's Franz E. Winkler Leadership Award posthumously to Beth. In his speech, Scott noted, "Our school continues to be a shining example of all that Waldorf education can and should be in the world. Everyone who is associated with the Waldorf School of Garden City owes a deep debt of gratitude to Beth Scherer for the critical role she played in ensuring the well-being and sustainability of our school during a time of great uncertainty." Beth's daughter Rachel Madsen accepted the award on her mother's behalf.
Beth was grateful to The Waldorf School of Garden City for all it had provided for her and her family and before her passing was deeply touched to have been nominated for this prestigious honor named after her family’s longtime physician, Dr. Franz Winkler.
To make a gift to the Fellowship Community in honor of Beth Scherer, please visit