Morristown-Beard School recently received approval from the family to share the sad news that Rose Koch, a beloved history teacher at The Beard School and Morristown-Beard School for more than 40 years, passed away on July 3, 2020 at the age of 75.
MBS Head of School Peter J. Caldwell remembered Mrs. Koch, saying, “While I never overlapped with Rose, she attended virtually every alumni event and was very clearly beloved by the alumni. She knew more about Beard School and Morristown-Beard School than anyone I know, and her commitment to the Beard School and Morristown-Beard School was never in doubt. She gave wholly of herself, and demonstrated empathy, compassion and love for so many. She will be dearly missed.”
When Rose Koch retired from Morristown-Beard School in 2010 after 41 years of distinguished service, she was praised by former Head of School Alex Curtis for her dedication to the students and for the way she "imbued Morristown-Beard School with a social conscience. She has a global perspective for all the right reasons — to help those who are less fortunate," said Dr. Curtis.
Mrs. Koch joined The Beard School in 1969 to teach courses in African, Asian and European history. Before that, she taught in North Carolina and underwent Peace Corps training in Watts, just after riots hit the area. She was a teacher in the Peace Corps in Nigeria and neighboring Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War.
These powerful experiences informed Rose’s entire life and forged her insistence that all voices be heard. After she returned to the United States, Mrs. Koch was hired by Beard School Headmistress Edith Sutherland specifically because of her experiences in Africa. In a 2009 interview, Rose commented on joining Beard: “In the late 1960s, curricula were expanding to include the history of non-Western cultures; I taught African-Asian Studies in addition to a more traditional European History course.” Rose emphasized that she wanted her course texts to include the writings of African authors. “I wanted my students to understand Africa and its history through its own voice,” she explained.
When the Morristown School and the Beard School merged in 1971, Mrs. Koch was among a small number of Beard faculty who made the transition to the new School. She was instrumental in the creation of a new Student Government Association and remained as SGA advisor throughout her entire teaching career. She also brought the Model United Nations to MBS and was a motivating force behind the Service Learning Program.
Upon her retirement, the MBS Board of Trustees presented a resolution of gratitude and appreciation in honor of Rose Koch "for her more than four decades of teaching at the Beard and Morristown-Beard Schools, for her selfless devotion of time and energy to all student activities, for her dedication to her colleagues and friends, and, above all, for her commitment to the thousands of students she has educated and mentored both inside and outside the classroom throughout a long career in service to others."