Brewster Pierce Elementary
Jean Bressor, early childhood educator at Brewster Pierce School, has been encouraging the staff to engage in fitness activities since she arrived 13 years ago. “I noticed how difficult it was for the staff to leave school and then go elsewhere to exercise, so I started a fitness club here, “she said. Every week Jean chooses an outdoor activity and whomever wants to participate can join her and earn prizes and points along the way,” said Heather Fergerson, the school nurse. “I believe she is the root of why the culture here is so invested in being active and healthy. Almost every day when I am leaving, I see Jean going on a walk with whomever will join her. She is regularly seen walking through her home town of Richmond on weekends and before and after school in the evenings. This means the students are seeing her too.”
"Walking has become my 'go-to' way to deal. It gives me time to think, time to listen to books and of course all the benefits of exercising,” Bressor said. “I practice wellness to stay ahead of aging. In her home community or Richmond, Bressor is also very involved in creating and maintaining walking trails.
“Every year, according to Fergerson, Jean excels in PATH’s Community Keeping Fit program and this inspired Fergerson to start charting her progress a few years ago. “She is very helpful in keeping our staff excited about staying fit and is also is an incredible healthy eater, eating fruits vegies and whole grains. Jean is working on cutting out all processed sugars,” said Fergerson.
Bressor knew from the age of four that she wanted to work with young children. Her dream of doing so came to fruition and she has never looked back. She has four grown children in different parts of the country and has worked in multiple early education centers, including; the VNA, the University of Vermont Medical center preschool and Head Start.
“Jean is the epitome of what I would call a lifelong learner, constantly taking classes and reading articles to stay current in her teaching practices. She often shares what she learns with us and it is fun to discover what she is teaching her students because it changes year to year. She has instituted outdoor days in her preschool classes to breathe fresh air and be curious about nature,” said Fergerson.
While lifting a bag of sand over a year ago, Bressor severely injured her back. As a result she has learned how to take care of her back to prevent further injury and does exercises twice each day to strengthen her back. “One goal I have yet to address is to walk home from school one day, nine miles from here,” she said. “And I love baking and bringing in multiple treats for our staff meetings.”