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Faculty Friday: Karen Radke Byrnes, US Learning Specialist, Community Service Coordinator, and History Teacher

Faculty Friday Friday, 10 Mar 2023

Happy Faculty Friday Roycemore! Today, we’re featuring a faculty member who might be familiar to many in our community: Mrs. Karen Radke Byrnes. 

Mrs. Byrnes currently serves as the Upper School Learning Specialist, Service Learning Coordinator, and European History teacher, but in her time at Roycemore she’s been the Communications teacher, Yearbook sponsor, and much more.

Mrs. Byrnes originally came to Roycemore to fill what was supposed to be a one-year position. Thirty years later, she’s been at Roycemore for longer than any of our students have been alive, earning the nickname “O.G.” among the staff and students. Now, her role at Roycemore is as much about keeping the traditions and spirit of Roycemore alive as it is instructing students and providing assistance. Whether she’s pranking US Head Stefanie Rivera by blowing up an inflatable llama in her office or telling stories about our alumni, she serves as the heart of that indefinable Roycemore spirit. When asked what about Roycemore made her stay for so long, Mrs. Byrnes mentioned the close and collaborative relationships she’s been able to build with teachers, students, and parents. At Roycemore, she’s allowed to deeply care about kids and see them as individuals, meaning the bonds she forms with them continue after they graduate.

Her classroom style is collaborative and student-led; instead of just reading through a textbook, her current AP Euro class is conducting mock trials for historical figures, which gives them a chance to apply the facts they’ve learned and strengthen their public speaking skills. Mrs. Byrnes thinks of herself as a facilitator of learning - her goal is to provide her students with the skills and knowledge they need, then step back and let them work on their own. Her favorite memories at Roycemore are the times she’s gotten to watch her students soar beyond what even they believed they were capable of.

When she’s not in the classroom, Mrs. Byrnes spends time connecting with alumni and faculty alumni, sharing what’s going on at Roycemore with previous generations of students. These connections help fill her cup, and she loves to see the continued impact a Roycemore education can have five, ten, or even twenty years after a student has graduated. She also loves to spend time outside, reconnecting with nature and grounding herself. Alumni will remember her famous Europe trips, and she’s happy to report that she’ll be returning to Germany over spring break. Mrs. Byrnes is a core part of Roycemore’s culture, and we’re excited to celebrate her for years to come!

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