Principal Lynn Heimsoth at Sunnyland Elementary School in November 2018. (Bellingham Public Schools)

Principal Lynn Heimsoth at Sunnyland Elementary School in November 2018. (Bellingham Public Schools)

Slain Bellingham principal’s Marysville legacy lives on today

Former Shoultes Elementary School principal Lynn Heimsoth was beloved by students and peers alike.

By Steve Powell / Marysville Globe

MARYSVILLE — Former Shoultes Elementary School principal Lynn Heimsoth was beloved by students and peers alike.

And she helped initiate some programs still being used in the Marysville School District today.

On the first day of school in 2015, Heimsoth, who was at Shoultes for four years, was giving out hugs to dozens of students. “Hugs, that’s what I do,” she told The Marysville Globe.

To students who shyly were trying to avoid her, she joked, “They know better than that.”

Heimsoth, 58, who had moved on to a school in Bellingham where she lived, was shot to death Dec. 26, along with her pets. The suspect, her husband, Kevin Heimsoth, 56, suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was taken to a hospital in critical condition, according to law enforcement officials.

On that first day of school in 2015, Heimsoth welcomed new assistant principal Jessica Conte, who worked with therapy dog Zenith to help students emotionally at Shoultes. “Kids have behavior and emotional needs dogs can relate to in a way we can’t,” Heimsoth said at the time.

Lynn Heimsoth and her therapy dog at a work session in Marysville three years ago. (Steve Powell/File Photo)

Lynn Heimsoth and her therapy dog at a work session in Marysville three years ago. (Steve Powell/File Photo)

Heimsoth was instrumental in helping the Marysville School District understand its changing demographics and changes that needed to take place to address that.

In the previous 15 years, the number of white students dropped from 90% to 57% at Shoultes. She said free lunches increased from 35% to 60%. She explained at a school board work session that the number of students receiving daily help from paraprofessionals rose from 70 to 110. “Those with the most need are helped by the most qualified in the smallest groups,” she said. As a result of that attention, she said, scores increased 74 percent.

Heimsoth was a major supporter of getting parents of minority students involved in school.

“We love to have our families come to our school for any reason,” said Heimsoth, who touted Shoultes’ monthly coffees for Hispanic families. “I want them to see this as their school.”

Of the roughly 40 Hispanic families invited to a pinata-making party, at least half attended.

Heimsoth said, “The more engaged those parents are, the better their students will do in school.”

Heimsoth also took measures to improve attendance.

One was called “Sharky.” The class that had the best attendance each month was awarded the huge stuffed shark.

The shark was also used to improve student behavior. After proper behavior was taught to students, they received “Sharky Slips” for repeating those behaviors. Heimsoth said using Facebook was helping the school communicate with parents, along with social media like Twitter and Instagram. The school also had breakfast with parents of those who had good attendance, along with monthly award certificates, assemblies and a Wall of Fame. Those with too many unexcused absences got home visits.

“Kids from Mexico took extended vacations to be with family,” Heimsoth said of one of the issues they were dealing with.

Heimsoth also worked with the community. Members of the Unchained Brotherhood motorcycle club raised $400 for the school with a 120-mile ride. “We’re so grateful to this club,” she said. “Beyond the basic admission fee they paid to ride, they all donated a little something extra.”

She was also a proponent of technology.

When the school received iPads, she said: “We want them to learn apps so that they become not just consumers, but creators. We have to get them ready for a global economic environment that’s far different from what we knew when we were growing up.”

This story originally appeared in The Marysville Globe, a sibling paper to the Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Traffic will be rerouted from a closed section of 220th Street SW just west of I-5 for overnight road repairs Wednesday and Thursday. (Sound Transit)
Overnight work to close 220th Street SW and southbound I-5

Contractor crews plan to repair 220th and need to close the freeway for light rail work.

This condo on Norton Ave. in Everett was sold Friday, June 18. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Snohomish County home values soar in latest assessment

Lack of affordable housing put the squeeze on buyers and drove up home prices across Snohomish County.

With credit scores out, will insurers cut or hike your rate?

Lack of affordable housing squeezed buyers and drove up home prices across Snohomish County.

Lynnwood man is challenging the legality of his imprisonment

The Island County Jail inmate was temporarily sent to a state prison and allegedly held in solitary confinement.

Chris Stack and Samantha Soule film a scene of their movie, "Midday Black, Midnight Blue," on the Coupeville wharf June 14. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Indie film crew: Whidbey residents are ‘generous and welcoming’

The movie makers are shooting scenes for a full-length feature at various sites around the island.

Community Transit is asking for feedback on options for a pilot program to bring a community van or microtransit, on-demand public transit, to Lynnwood in spring next year. (Community Transit)
Are you ready for public transit ride-sharing in Lynnwood?

Community Transit is planning a pilot program next spring and wants to hear what people think.

Harry Lee Jones Jr.
Man gets 31½ years for shooting Everett motel guest 12 times

Harry Lee Jones Jr., 27, beat and then shot a Farwest Motel guest in 2018 while two accomplices looted his room.

Everett's Patrick Hall was among people who put up signs in March to save the Longfellow School building.  He is now part of an advisory task force looking at options for the building, which the Everett School District had planned to tear down.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
National register listing could be next for old Longfellow

But the designation wouldn’t stop the Everett School District from tearing down the former school.

Cars make their way across US 2 between Lake Stevens and Everett as wildfire smoke makes downtown Everett barely visible on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Wildfire smoke: A burning health issue is getting worse

As the hazardous haze increases during fire seasons, it’s time to get serious and prepare, experts say.

Most Read