Carrie Shapiro: It’s Not Just About the Classwork

This article is the first in a series of profiles of BHS alumni who have returned as staff members


Shapiro returned to Beachwood after working in publishing and teaching English in the city of Chicago. Photo by Simon Anastos

It has only been 15 years since Carrie Shapiro graduated from BHS.

She has enjoyed teaching Beachwood students since she was hired four years ago as an English teacher.

“Teaching in Beachwood is strange at times because I see so much of myself in all of the students,” she said.

As a student, Shapiro was very involved in extracurriculars. She was co-captain of the drill team and participated in softball, yearbook and White & Gold. Her life beyond the school work shaped much of the way she experienced high school.

She enjoyed attending school with her older sister.

“It was really special,” Shapiro said. “She was a senior when I was a freshman. Seeing her in the building and in the halls was fun.”

Shapiro attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree where she double majored in English and Communications. She later pursued her Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

After college she worked in publishing for three years in the Chicago area where she did publicity. Though it sounded interesting at first, she ultimately decided it wasn’t the right fit for her.

It’s actually really cool that I get to be on the other side of things but still remind myself of what it was like over fifteen years ago.

— English Teacher Carrie Shapiro

“I needed to make a change, and that’s when I went back to school,” she said.

She taught English in the city of Chicago for three years.

“I always knew I wanted to move back to Cleveland,” she said. “It was really good timing. I heard Mr. Harvan was retiring… it’s very unlikely for an English teacher to retire and there to be an opening.”

She felt lucky to be hired, and even though she applied to teach at other schools, she says that Beachwood would have been her first choice.

Upon her return, Shapiro found that some of the teachers she had in high school were now her colleagues. Getting into the habit of calling Mrs. Morgan, Mr. Perse, Señor Summers and Mr. Luzar by their first names was definitely a big change.

When she returned to teach here in 2012, she noticed that the school’s dynamic had changed over the years.

“A lot of the traditions are the same, but a lot is so different as well,” she added.

She enjoys reliving memories from her high school experience such as Homecoming, football games and Spirit Week.

“It’s actually really cool that I get to be on the other side of things but still remind myself of what it was like over fifteen years ago,” she said.

Since she attended school at Beachwood, Shapiro acknowledges how much more diverse the school has become.

“I like how we embrace [diversity] now, I think it’s incredible,” she said.

On the other hand, she feels that school spirit was stronger for the Class of 2003.

“There was a lot more hype around going to the dance and Spirit Week,” she said. Shapiro hopes that as the years go on there is an increase of school spirit, as that is what made her high school experience so special.