Former students remember Verona middle school principal

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 7:35 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison area community is mourning the loss of Badger Ridge Middle School principal Beth Steffen.

Former students are remembering the ways she made an impact on them throughout her years as an educator.

“The hundreds and hundreds of students that she’s impacted, and just seeing the outpour, outcry of love and appreciation that everyone has showed her online that I see is just really beautiful,” former student Alyssa Ivy said.

Former student Reginald Simms-Pearnell described Steffen as “irreplaceable.”

“She’s just awesome, you know, and there will never be another teacher like her, ever,” Simms-Pearnell said. “I can’t really think of anything else but positivity when I think of her.”

Simms-Pearnell was Steffen’s former English student back when she taught at LaFollette High School. He said his relationship with Steffen had lasted well beyond his days as a student.

“I have been in touch with her all of my adult life,” Simms-Pearnell said.

It’s a similar story for Ivy, who was also in Steffen’s English class at LaFollette. Ivy said Steffen is the reason why she became a first-generation college student in her family.

“It’s crazy because our relationship started out as her just coming into my class and helping me write some essays, but then it progressed into her writing college recommendation letters for me,” Ivy said.

Now working as a restorative justice coordinator for Black Hawk Middle School, Ivy said it gives her a unique opportunity to continue on Steffen’s legacy.

“I think that’s the beautiful thing that now that I’m working with youth, I can just pass on everything that Ms. Steffen was able to teach me,” Ivy said.

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