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Our Well Wishes to and Interview with Dean Judy Hinrichs

Judy Hinrichs with CityU Faculty member Elizabeth Fountain
Judy Hinrichs with CityU Faculty member Elizabeth Fountain

This week, we had the opportunity to celebrate the outgoing Dean of City University’s Albright School of Education (ASOE), Dean Judy Hinrichs. For more than 15 years, Judy has been a dedicated leader, educator and mentor to faculty, staff and students. Daily she lived out CityU’s mission of changing lives for good by being committed to providing our students with a high quality and relevant education. At her farewell celebration Provost, Dr. Steven Olswang eloquently said, “Because Judy led by example – professionally and personally – she made for an excellent Dean and colleague and accomplished a great deal of success in the Albright School of Education.”

President Lee Gorsuch said, “Judy’s persistent attention to details and commitment to quality has enabled ASOE to hold on to and advance its leadership in teacher education and its reputation as an exemplary school.”

It’s quite simple – Judy will be missed but her legacy will continue to be a part of CityU.

In honor of her and her legacy, we interviewed her and asked her a few questions about her time here, her proudest moments and “what’s next.” Read on to see what she had to say…

CityU (CU): As the outgoing Dean of the Albright School of Education, what has been your proudest moment?

Judy Hinrichs (JH): When I came to CityU 10 years ago, I was so proud that I was working in a building with an elevator! Schools do not have elevators and I thought this was really big time! I still think of that when I come in many mornings. But the pride I really feel is about the position in the state that the school has built over time beginning before I came to CityU. It has often been the top provider of principals and school counselors and ranks just behind the top public providers of teachers in the state. That is amazing for a not for profit organization that does not have external backing and support, such as through a church affiliation. That was accomplished by bright, dedicated and hard working professionals who saw their jobs here as multi-dimensional. They were creative and looked for ways to provide service to the educational community that others were not doing at the time. Being in their company has been inspiring and challenging. Times have changed, but we still need that creative energy to keep our programs relevant and successful.

CU: How many years have you been an educator? What has kept you going in this field?

JH: My career in education has spanned 45 years. I began my career teaching third grade in the Edmonds School District in 1967 when I was 21 years old. I loved classroom teaching but over the next 30 years I transitioned into other responsibilities including being a Staff Development Specialist, a union President full-time, an Elementary Principal and a central office administrator. While in the central office I managed a number of programs including International Students, Student Discipline for the district, Highly Capable Student Programs, Traffic Safety, student attendance and enrollment and the district’s Homeschool Resource Center, which served 500 students.

During my years in public education I also taught classes for a number of the local universities including Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, Western Washington University, Edmonds Community College and others. I loved teaching and working with adults almost as much as I did working with students. I started working with CityU in the 1990s supervising student teachers. I had mentored a number of them as a classroom teacher and principal and particularly enjoyed the process of supporting them as they grew in knowledge, competence and experience. I still see some of those who I worked with these many years later. And that work with CityU led me to the University when I retired from public education and I have had fabulous experience working here with several of our programs and in different positions.

CU: What is or was your favorite lecture to teach to first year students, why?

JH: While our students in the School of Education are primarily already career professionals rather than entering freshmen, I particularly liked teaching or lecturing to those in our Educational Leadership or Guidance and Counseling programs about school law and the relationship between legal issues and their roles in schools. I recall a time when I was managing student discipline in the school district and various principals consulted with me. One day a fairly new principal called to say that she had a student who she felt quite sure had cigarettes on him but was denying it. Her plan was to take him in the bathroom and have him take his clothes off to search him in private. While this person went on to have a very successful career in education, it taught me then and there that there are various levels of awareness and background on what is the “right” thing to do and what is the legal thing to do and when a problem in those areas becomes a problem, it can become a front page, career ending problem; therefore, we need to give the best preparation to our aspiring candidates as possible.

CU: What is a piece of advice you feel all educators need to hear today?

JH: I tell candidates that “respect” is something you earn, not something that is owed to you. Respectful “behavior” is owed and expected, but respect itself is a gift that people (including children) give you when they believe that you are acting in their best interest. Because of that, relationships we build with others is a key to success. We have to be authentic and believable in communicating and interacting with people.

CU: What is the first book you’ll read in your retirement?

JH: I have been an avid reader all my life, which began when my parents made a “for them” huge investment in a set of encyclopedias for the family in the 1950s.

Now, I am just finishing the last in a long series of terrorist/espionage/CIA novels by author Vince Flynn. He has ONE MORE due out in April, but I will find many other things to read before then.

CU: As a world traveler, where is the first place you’ll go in retirement?

JH: I will spend much of this winter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but I love my Seattle home and will travel back and forth as much as possible. In April I will travel to Venezuela to visit our former Guidance and Counseling Director, Susan Follmer, and in May I will travel to the Midwest. Next summer I will spend time on the Atlantic coast too. And sometime this year I will make a trip to Germany to see a special museum I have been wanting to visit in Baden Baden and to see friends.

CU: What will you most miss at CityU?

JH: Of course I will miss my colleagues in all departments here. Craig Schieber has been a tremendous person to work with the last 10 years and he will make a great Dean! Our faculty here in Bellevue and at our sites in Vancouver, Tacoma, Everett and elsewhere has served us so well and it is always a pleasure to visit classes in their sites on the weekends. They take such pride in what they do and serve our students so well. Our colleagues in the business office, admissions, marketing, recruitment, financial aid, human resources and other departments, all keep the success of our programs and our employees as their greatest priority. And, don’t laugh, but I have particularly fond memories of the nights that many of us used to work so late into the evening hours, eating popcorn for dinner, sharing laughs and frustrations, and telling each other over and over to “go home.” Shared experiences like that bond people together and keep us working but keep us having fun too.

CU: Do you have any closing remarks you’d like to share with CityU or with the faculty, staff or students – we’re all ears…

JH: Look ahead with hope and back with pride!


…Thanks Dean Hinrichs!

Published December 14, 2011