Retiring Staff: Bobbette Byrne

After 31 years of teaching and coaching at Grayslake North, Bobbette Bryne is graduating with the Class of 2023. Students define Bobette Bryne as a role model – someone they can look up to. Mrs. Bryne’s earned her reputation by understanding her students within the classroom but also outside of it. Her teaching philosophy reflects her character: warm, compassionate, and empathetic.
She emphasizes validating students as seeing them as a whole person as opposed to a name on an attendance sheet or their grade on PowerSchool. Mrs.Bryne has strived to create a positive environment in her classes, and this year she bids farewell to it all.

“I’ve been here for 31 years,” Byrne said. “I thought this was the perfect field for me to go into. I love athletics. I love being around kids, and I’ve always been active. I can’t sit still.”

Bryne began as a coach and moved into teaching, and her tenure has lasted 31 years. She finds joy in getting to know her students and forming connections with them. She especially enjoys the long-term connections she has built with families and some of her students who have returned back as faculty.

“It’s always been special, seeing other younger siblings come up through school,” Bryne said. “And now some of the teachers are my students. So I’ve been here for a long time.”

Her role model was her high school physical education teacher who she remembers as a “huge influence on her.’’ Byrne aims to motivate students to enjoy physical activity and help cultivate long-term healthy habits. By relating to students and creating a positive environment in her aerobic classes, Byrne aims to realize these goals.

“My aerobic classes are probably my favorite because I like to go to aerobics classes and then to bring that back to my kids,” Byrne said. “I feel like I can relate to them.”

Bryne has been the primary aerobics teacher at North for many years, and for many students her retirement sparks sadness; however, her legacy has become ingrained within the school’s culture and her impact still shows within current students.

“Mrs. Bryne is fun, active, and carefree,” said senior Jess Bennett. “She has been a huge role model for me because she has been there for me all four years.”

Bryne advises her fellow staff to always be flexible, ensuring that students come to school to be a part of a positive environment. Getting to know students and showing genuine interest in who they are is Byrne’s key tenet of strong teaching. The more comfortable and welcome students are, the more able they are to learn and thrive.

Bryne leaves Grayslake with a new path in front of her, ready to embrace change.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet; it’s surreal,” Bryne said. “I’d maybe come back and visit, but I plan on keeping myself busy and moving on.”