Berkeley Mourns the Loss of Longfellow School Teacher

BY ANNA REED staff writer

Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) community member and teacher, Britt Badgley Alamo, died on Friday, August 26 in her sleep, at the age of 40.

Alamo was a teacher at Longfellow Middle School for nine years and was a Berkeley High School alumna.

She and her brother grew up going to Berkeley public schools, and she remained very engaged in the community throughout her life.

She served as a union member with the Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT), Longfellow’s BFT representative, and a passionate social advocate.

Director of Programs and Special Projects at BUSD, Pat Sadler specifcally remembered Alamo’s “fierce determination and bravery around social justice for people,” she said.

Numerous colleagues spoke of Alamo’s relentless passion for advocating for what was right, saying she worked to make the world a better place.

“She was a uniquely effective advocate because she was as committed to large political social justice movements as she was to the individual students she worked with every day,” said Berkeley School Board Vice-President Ty Alper.

Alper went on to state that Alamo’s passion was a inspiratation to her colleagues and students.

Social advocacy was not simply a casual pastime for Alamo. For her, it was a way of life.

“She was not afraid to take a stand. In fact, she felt it was her civic duty to take a stand,” said Longfellow Teacher Martha Cain.

Alamo is survived by her husband Steve and seven-year-old daughter. Her daughter, Elsa, continues the family’s involvement in the district as a current BUSD student.

Several of Alamo’s colleagues remembered her passion and involvement with politics and social justice.

“[Alamo] was a dedicated Bay Area liberal, informed about our local elections along with both the local and national debates,” said Longfellow Teacher Patrick Collins.

“She would frequently act as the teachers’ live news feed  asking what we all thought of the latest topics before sharing her own strong opinion.”

However, Mary Patterson pointed out that Alamo’s excitement about the latest news didn’t stop at the political level.

“One of her greatest qualities was her high level of interest and engagement around so many issues, but none more than whatever was going on in her friends’ lives. She knew everything about everyone and was very encouraging and considerate when her friends had a problem,” she said.

Cain said Alamo was a “force of nature,” describing her as bright, quick, clear, and compassionate to her students, friends, and family.

This quality made Alamo perfect for heading what Longfellow refers to as the “Sunshine Committee.” Cain explained that this position involved organizing the staff to sign cards for various occasions, buying gifts and flowers, and celebrating whenever a significant  event happened in the life of another member of Longfellow’s esteemed staff.

Because of her deep concern and involvement  in lives of her friends, Alamo was able to encourage other staff members at Longfellow to support one another and build a stronger and better community.It was acts like these that much of the Longfellow staff remembered Alamo doing. “Britt made it so fun to be at Longfellow. She was a social organizer and helped staff members become friends outside of school,” said Patterson.

Collins agreed, saying  that while he has always compartmentalized his life, keeping his personal life separate from school, Britt was exactly the opposite.

Her daughter, Elsa, would frequently attend  Alamo’s weekly department meetings,  and was free to share her own opinions, feelings, and concerns, a privelege which she reportedly exercised often and well.Others also remembered the frequent updates Alamo would give about her family and what was going on in her life. Alamo’s willingness to share is something that seemed to bring the staff together.

Alamo will be greatly missed by the students and staff of Longfellow Middle School, as well as in the greater BUSD and Berkeley community.