School mourns the death of English teacher Jason Berry

English+teacher+and+coach+Jason+Berry+laughs+at+a+joke+as+he+speaks+at+the+2012+Baccalaureate+ceremony.+Berry+died+on+Saturday+morning+as+a+result+of+an+apparent+heart+failure.
Back to Article
Back to Article

School mourns the death of English teacher Jason Berry

English teacher and coach Jason Berry laughs at a joke as he speaks at the 2012 Baccalaureate ceremony. Berry died on Saturday morning as a result of an apparent heart failure.

English teacher and coach Jason Berry laughs at a joke as he speaks at the 2012 Baccalaureate ceremony. Berry died on Saturday morning as a result of an apparent heart failure.

Megan Prakash

English teacher and coach Jason Berry laughs at a joke as he speaks at the 2012 Baccalaureate ceremony. Berry died on Saturday morning as a result of an apparent heart failure.

Megan Prakash

Megan Prakash

English teacher and coach Jason Berry laughs at a joke as he speaks at the 2012 Baccalaureate ceremony. Berry died on Saturday morning as a result of an apparent heart failure.

by Darian Edvalson

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






English teacher and coach Jason Berry died in his house of apparent heart failure Saturday.

Students, teachers, and parents were informed of the news through an email sent out by Head of School Chris Nikoloff Saturday night.

“Mr. Berry was a beloved member of the Harker community,” Nikoloff wrote. “He challenged and stretched his students and athletes, and endeared himself to all with his warmth and whip smart humor.”

Berry, 38, has been an English teacher at the Upper School for the past five years.

Berry, who grew up in Concord, New Hampshire, earned his Master of Arts in English Literature and Cinema Studies from Clemson University and his Bachelor of the Arts in English and Philosophy from Furman University. After spending time teaching at Steward School in Richmond, Virginia, he moved to the Upper School, where he has been since.

In June, Berry married Director of Alumni Relations MaryEllis Deacon Berry.

Students, teachers, and athletes who knew and worked with Berry emphasized that his personality made a profound impact on them.

“He made me want to listen to what he had to say and to engage in learning much more diligently than I ever had before. He told me I was smarter than what I was presenting him with,” Lori Berenberg (’13) said. “It was just a matter of applying myself. After a year of his lessons, I went from being a mediocre writer to someone who’s confident in her ability to express herself.”

The school is bringing in outside counselors every day this week for students who would like to talk to them. Upper School counselors will be visiting classes at the beginning of the week to talk to students and help grieving students and faculty.

On Thursday, there will be a memorial service for Berry at the WestGate Church on 1735 Saratoga Avenue, followed by a gathering in the Upper School quad to celebrate his life.

Berry is survived by his wife, MaryEllis Deacon Berry, father and mother, Lance and Nancy Berry, brother and sister-in-law, Josh and Jessica Berry, and father-in-law and mother-in-law, Upper School Division Head Butch Keller and math teacher Jane Keller.

For questions or concerns, contact Lori Villarreal at [email protected]