Robin Gottlieb

As an alumna, faculty member, and past parent, Bebe Clark Bullock ’86 exemplifies the Berkshire School saying, “Once a Bear, always a Bear.” In 2007, she returned to Berkshire with her husband and young family to help coordinate the School’s Centennial Celebration. Bullock ended up staying at Berkshire for the next 13 years, where she taught English, coached field hockey and squash, and was a dorm head in Godman. Her strong knowledge of the School’s history and traditions led her to move into her present role as Archivist in 2021. In addition to organizing, researching, and modernizing the Berkshire archives, Bullock also helps faculty members incorporate lessons about the School history into their curriculum, making guest appearances in English and history classes, and her webinar talks on the School’s history are extremely popular with many Bears.

Bebe Clark Bullock '86 works with a student in Berkshire's Archives, now located in the Fentress Reading Room.

Since graduating from Berkshire, Bullock has kept strong ties with many of her classmates. She lived with three alums before she was married, served as a class agent for many years, and, more recently, travels semi-annually on walking excursions with a group of classmates. 

Bullock is a graduate of Colby College, and in 1999, received a master’s in education from the University of Southern Maine. Her husband, Bill, was also a member of the School’s faculty and staff, and her three children, Addie ’14, Liam ’17, and Silas ’21, are Berkshire alums. In addition to her work as an archivist, Bullock recently helped found the non-profit organization Arlington Common, which is a community hub that enhances and strengthens the Arlington, Vermont area through creativity, wellness, culture, and education.

Please read more about Bullock’s work as an archivist and her strong connection to Berkshire in the Q and A below.

You have a long history with Berkshire, beginning as an alum from the Class of 1986. Which of Berkshire’s values and traditions resonate most with you?  

I think the most important value for me is perseverance. As a student, I struggled in school before attending Berkshire and thought that was just who I was. Then, after being in classes with Peter Kinne and others, I learned that effort and stick-to-it-ness went a long way toward feeling successful. As a classroom teacher, I wanted students to learn that same feeling for themselves: that they could accomplish more with the drafting process, incorporating peer feedback, and fighting the urge to say they were done after the first attempt.

You were a beloved teacher and coach at Berkshire and made the switch to Archivist. What do you most enjoy about your current role?

While I miss teaching and coaching tremendously, I love bringing the archives out of the dusty basement and into the daily lives of alumni and students. I usually present an annual webinar to the larger school community, highlighting a unique aspect of past school life. I have heard alums say, "If only I had known more about a particular moment in our history, I would have felt even more strongly about my Berkshire experience." 

I also frequently speak in classes, presenting different eras of school life like WWI, WWII, the Vietnam Era, and Berkshire’s long history with the Mountain. Students enjoy the connection to the past in ways I didn't anticipate. Something special happens when a student realizes there were over 100 years of kids just like them sitting in the same classrooms, rushing through Buck Valley to class, and eating in the dining hall. 

Students enjoy learning about Berkshire's rich history nearly as much as Bullock does.

Can you share an interesting piece of Berkshire history that you’ve recently discovered? 

Recently, I found pictures from 1918, right after Glenny House burned down, destroying a third of the dorm rooms, the Bucks' living quarters, the school dining room, and the kitchen. The picture is of the gymnasium set up as a temporary dining room, which was used for the rest of the school year until they built Memorial Hall the following year. I find it so similar to today (albeit without the travesty of fire) that while we renovate Benson, our school dining room is in a hockey rink. Who says history doesn't repeat itself? 

In what ways did your time at Berkshire influence your academic and career choices?

Berkshire influenced me in every way. After graduating from college, I worked in TV for a while, which I thought I would love but didn’t. Soon, I realized I wanted to give back in some way. I hadn't strayed too far from Berkshire: I was living with three of my best friends from my class. Then, I went to graduate school to become a teacher. While I taught in several cities, I knew I wanted to teach in a boarding school. Twenty years after I graduated, I returned to the Mountain.

What are some of your fondest memories of your time as a student?  

As a student, I loved the amount of time I had with friends and teachers. Without TV, computers, and even phones (only one in the dorm basement), we had time to get to know each other. I loved hanging out in Memorial, whether it was in the dining room during lunch or sitting on the stairs after dinner.