Westmont Magazine Saving the Best for Last
Now that they’ve retired, Bill and Carol Nill ’64 Beard spend their time doing work they love. Bill helps students at UC Los Angeles find jobs as chemical engineers, and Carol teaches homeschooled children at an innovative, part-time school.
After majoring in education at Westmont, Carol spent five years as a teacher in Tustin, Calif., where she lived with fellow graduates who also taught. “We were known as the nuns of St. Gertrude Street,” she laughs.
Like the other “nuns,” she got married after a few years and retired to raise her son and daughter.
Bill earned his degree in chemical engineering at Stanford University and went to work for Atlantic Richfield Corp. as a technical manager. One of his duties was college recruiting.
In 1986, Carol returned to the classroom at Friends Christian School, the largest Christian school in Orange County. She stayed there until Bill was restructured out of a job and took early retirement in 1994. For several years, Carol substituted in the public schools part time so she was free to travel with Bill. Their adventures include fabulous trips to Australia, Turkey, Israel, Italy, Austria, and Spain.
Then she read about a new school serving homeschooled families, and it caught her attention. The Community School of Central Orange County provides lesson plans and other resources for parents who want to homeschool their children and have taken Gary Uzzo’s class, “Growing Kids God’s Way.” Children attend classes two days a week and study at home the other three.
After learning more about the school, Carol decided to sign on. She teaches nine kindergarten students and develops lesson plans for parents to use at home. “We have a true partnership between teachers and parents, who will do anything for teachers,” she says. “I have never taught in an environment where the children were so beautifully trained and have so much respect for adults. They know they’re not the center of the universe.”
Carol believes the intense parental involvement makes a big difference. “When I taught at the Christian school, teachers did most of the Bible training. At The Community School, parents do it, and the results are beautiful to see,” she notes.
Bill has also discovered work he loves. As the industrial liaison for the chemical engineering department at UC Los Angeles, he has been free to define his position. Several days a week he helps students prepare for interviews, polish their resumes, and make contacts with potential employers.
“I really enjoy working with students,” he says. “I commute 55 miles each way because it’s fulfilling to help students get good jobs. A lot of them keep in touch with me, and that’s fun.”
Following the careers of their two children is another delight. Krista Beard ’94 earned her B.A. and teaching credential at Westmont and teaches in the Goleta School District. Derek graduated from Pepperdine and earned a master’s degree in computer science at UC Los Angeles. He works for a computer company in Texas.