Heidi Boley, a long-time Berkeley High School employee, drowned while canoeing in the Russian River on October 4. In her time at BHS, Boley heavily impacted the community, and her loss will be felt by many.
Boley graduated from UC Berkeley with a master’s in educational leadership and administration, as well as a bachelor’s degree in biology. Boley became a teacher for math and science classes. She started working for BUSD in 1984, and taught math and science at BHS for nearly 21 years, until 2005. Boley educated her students about topics beyond the realms of just math or science. Boley had a strong passion for educating and deeply cared about her work. She formed genuine relationships with her students and influenced their lives profusely. Before she became a teacher in the Bay Area, in the early 1980s, Boley went back to Maui, where she grew up, and taught public and private schools. While in Maui, Boley was the director of their Planned Parenthood site.
After retiring from teaching high school, Boley started working with Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) on the Berkeley Research, Evaluation & Assessment (BREA). BREA is a program that allows new teachers to work with experienced educators and learn useful skills to incorporate into the classroom. Boley worked part-time with BREA and helped train new teachers on how to be more effective and influential educators.
“Heidi was very likable and I’ve always considered her my friend,” said Scott Willson, a colleague of Boley. She was very good at her job and “explained the paperwork like a real pro, making life easier for the new teachers in training,” said Willson, who had worked with Boley on BREA. Willson said that every time he ran into Boley, they exchanged wonderful conversation and that she was very easy and enjoyable to talk to.
Boley was seen as an inspiring teacher and has influenced many of her students’ lives. A comment on Berkeleyside News left by a former math student of Boley’s said “She had a profound influence on my life. I am now a math teacher myself.” Boley strongly impacted the BHS community and created lasting bonds with her students and colleagues.
“This is truly tragic news not only for her family and loved ones,” said former student of Boley, “but for our whole community and all the thousands of BUSD alumnae who were privileged enough to have her as a teacher.”
Boley devoted her life to education. She greatly influenced other teachers as well as her students. Boley cared about her community and about the education of youth. After she retired from teaching, she spent her time working on strategies to continue to educate youth in ways that really worked for different learning styles. She was dedicated to the education system and spent nearly half a century working in education. Boley was a huge asset to her community and she will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.