SPECIAL SENDOFF: ‘Kindergarten whisperer’ teacher Jim Herk retiring; ‘photos, well wishes, stories’ sought

If you have memories of “Mr. Herk” to share – that can help with a special sendoff that’s in the works! Here’s the announcement:

Please help us in honoring a special teacher who has served our local community.

After 34 years of teaching, Jim Herk, kindergarten teacher at Genesee Hill Elementary, is retiring this June.

“Mr. Herk” taught for 14 years at MLK, Jr. Elementary in Seattle before switching to Schmitz Park Elementary where he has been teaching kindergarteners for 20 years (this year at the new Genesee Hill Elementary). Acknowledged by many as the “Kindergarten Whisperer,” Mr. Herk is known for his calm and unruffled demeanor. He has helped more than 700 youngsters successfully acclimate to their first year of elementary school, from the most rowdy to the most timid of children. Mr. Herk is known for leading the traditional school Halloween parade, the annual Kindergarten Pumpkin Patch trip, and the annual Kindergarten Graduation BBQ and low-tide party.

We need your help! Please send photos, well wishes, and stories to HerkRetirement@gmail.com by Monday, June 12th. These will be organized into a Memory/Retirement Book for Mr. Herk. We can also include notes posted to this blog post. Photos do not have to include Mr. Herk. We also want photos of your child in Kindergarten or photos that highlight the school Halloween Parade or Low-Tide Graduation BBQ.

Please also spread the word to parents and students who may have had Mr. Herk as a teacher years ago. Help us fill the book and send off Mr. Herk with great memories and appreciation.

9 Replies to "SPECIAL SENDOFF: 'Kindergarten whisperer' teacher Jim Herk retiring; 'photos, well wishes, stories' sought"

  • Julie June 4, 2017 (8:32 pm)

    Thank you, Mr. Herk!  Our daughter loved Kindergarten with you and will always remember your jokes!  Congratulations and enjoy retirement!   – The Forcum Family (2016-2017 Kindergarten)

  • MrsT June 5, 2017 (1:05 pm)

    Thanks for all your hard work Mr. Herk!

    • Julie June 5, 2017 (9:18 pm)

       Thank you “MrsT.” Who should I say this message is from  when I copy it to the memory book?   Thanks!  Julie ( PTA organizer of the memory book) 

  • Linda Fittro June 5, 2017 (1:12 pm)

    Thank you Mr. Herk!  Lexi met some of her closest friends in your class.  She remembers you as you always gave her ‘sparkly’ crayons to color with.   Linda and Lexi Fittro  (2001-2002 Kindergarten)

  • Kevin Thrapp June 6, 2017 (2:04 pm)

    Who would have thought in college you’d become a teacher. Enjoy retirement old friend.

    Kevin Thrapp. Friend since our 6th grade class. College roommate and one of the 2 best men at his wedding.

  • WSAlum June 7, 2017 (10:05 pm)

    Mr. Herk taught all 3 of my kids at Schmitz Park. An amazing teacher! Thank you Mr. Herk for all years teaching the kids of West Seattle. You’ll be missed.

    How you remain so calm being around 5yr olds all day I will never know. Truly a gift. Make sure to turn the lights off on your way out.

    • Julie June 8, 2017 (2:00 pm)

      Hi WSAlum.  I am putting all of these comments plus others we have collected into a memory book.  Can you please let me know your name so I can include it?  Either here, or email me at HerkRetirement@gmail.com

      thanks, Julie

  • Nicole June 8, 2017 (10:29 pm)

    I remember when I was student teacher at Schmitiz Park and I notice this teacher walking behind his students down the hall. I had never seen two perfect lines of quiet children walking down a hall before.  With his hands behind his back and his fanny pack around his waste, I said to myself….one day, that will be my childrens’ teacher. Mr. Herk taught two of my kids, Alex and Tallulah. Not only did my kiddos have a great kindergarten teacher, I also was fortunate to teach with Jim for 19 years! 

    You will truly be missed! 

  • Japhy Whalen June 11, 2017 (6:09 am)

    I worked with Mr. Herk  for 12 years at Schmitz Park and the thing that always stuck out to me was the quiet, calm demeanor of he and his wonderful students.   I would often use Mr. Herk’s students as examples to my class- saying to them- ‘..let’s see if we can walk the hallways as quietly as Mr Herk’s class.’  May you have many a calm and quiet day ahead of you in retirement Jim.  Cheers!

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