The close of the 2019-2020 school year forced students, teachers, and administrators to say goodbye to many Lynbrook legends. Among this year’s retirees is one of LHS’s most beloved: Kim Hermann. After serving the Lynbrook community for 25 years, Herrmann will wrap up a successful career at the end of this school year.
Herrmann grew up a Coast Guard “brat,” and attended high school in Jacksonville, Florida. She “had a desire to try life outside of the South,” as she explained, so she attended SUNY Buffalo before becoming a teacher. She then began her teaching career 34 years ago at Edward R. Murrow High School in New York City, while also working as a bartender. She worked at the school for some time before moving to James Madison High School. Between the two, Herrmann worked in New York City for nine years before coming to LHS.
While in Lynbrook, Herrmann has become iconic for her role as the teacher of both AP and Regents U.S. Government and Politic. Her class, which is fan favorite for many seniors, is known for its insightful class discussions—or sometimes debates—which Herrmann facilitates with absolute kindness, patience, and support. Her friendly nature, as well as her unmatched commitment and dedication to her students, has truly made Hermmann’s classroom a special place for many seniors. “Mrs. Herrmann’s class was one that I could always look forward to. She challenged us on an academic level but remained kind and considerate while doing so. She is a great teacher and an even better person,” commented senior Maria Russotti.
Through her hard work and ability to bring creativity to every area, Herrmann has made the topic of politics fun and interesting for her students. Whether it be by allowing her students to create their own mock political parties and compete against one another to become the honorary leaders of the grade, or by offering the opportunity for her students to discuss relevant and oftentimes controversial issues, Herrmann has managed to engage her students while simultaneously teaching them important lessons.
Although her students have expressed that they are extremely appreciative of all that she has taught them, Herrmann revealed that she is grateful for all that her students have taught her. “I will absolutely miss the energy of the students. I think being around students keeps us all youthful. Their interests and knowledge on social studies, as well as everything from music to technology, has educated me beyond what I have taught them. I will miss hearing their views and thoughts on relevant issues. I will miss class discussions where even the quiet students share their perspective. I will miss their patience and kindness towards each other,” explained Herrmann.
As expressed by many of her coworkers, Herrmann’s influence on those around her has gone beyond that of just a fellow teacher; many are fortunate enough to call her a role model, and a good friend. “Mrs. Herrmann has always been a trusted mentor to me since day one. If I ever needed sound advice or a trusting ear, she was always the person to turn to. She would graciously give anyone who needed it, her time, her knowledge, and her friendship,” explained Social Studies and Sociology Teacher Koren Pena.
Global History Teacher Olga Zisel, who had Herrmann as a mentor her first-year teaching at Lynbrook, spoke of her perennial support; “In the 18 years that I have known Mrs. Herrmann, my experience has been one of constant support. She is always there for anyone who reaches out to her for anything. Whether you need support and good advice professionally, personally, emotionally, and absolutely anything else, Mrs. Herrmann is always there!”
Herrmann’s consistent positivity and ability to see the bright side of every situation and help others do the same has also caught the attention of those around her. “I think the best way to sum up all of my favorite memories with [Mrs. Herrmann] is by highlighting her gift of positivity and love for others. Whether it was baby showers, birthdays, retirements, or weddings, Mrs. Herrmann made her students and coworkers feel special. She went out of her way to not only recognize but celebrate others,” commented Psychology and Social Studies Teacher Danielle Reinert.
Herrmann notes these celebrations as some of her highlights at LHS, as well as being a class advisor to the Model Congress, and a union leader. Herrmann added, “There have been so many moments that have added to my joy at LHS. I appreciated chaperoning the trips to Disney and Washington DC. I relished having both my own children in the Lynbrook schools. And, I absolutely loved, and was blessed, to have so many incredible students in my class. I think my students are the biggest highlight. Their interests, joys and thoughts on relevant issues brought me great pleasure.”
Herrmann shared that most of all, she will miss the Lynbrook community. “I feel like I grew up here at LHS. My husband went to school here, we bought a house, and had children who eventually went to school here. My husband served on the board of education for two years, my kids played sports and were active in the schools. As a result of all this, I feel like I have ties to the community on many different levels in addition to being a teacher. Almost half of my life has been spent in LHS and with the children of this town. I will miss the community of LHS.”
Following her retirement, Herrmann has big plans to appreciate every one of life’s moments. “I look forward to each day and the possibilities they bring, to travel, read, write, and learn new things. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you,” she excitedly explained.
In regard to her retirement, Principal Joseph Rainis said, “I am happy for her, but sad for LHS… Mrs. Herrmann is a great advocate for teachers, for students, and for public education.” Although her presence will certainly be missed, Reinert, Pena, Zisel, and Rainis have all agreed that after so many years of hard work and dedication, her retirement is so well deserved.
Throughout her 25 year-long career at LHS, Herrmann has imparted her wisdom on teachers and students alike, enlightening everyone she comes across. Although her time as a teacher will soon be complete, Herrmann’s legacy and influence on the school, and its teachers and students, will certainly never fade.