Award-winning art teacher Mr. Jim Herold with student Krista Falde in his classroom at Spring Valley Middle/High School. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
Award-winning art teacher Mr. Jim Herold with student Krista Falde in his classroom at Spring Valley Middle/High School. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

SPRING VALLEY, WI – Yes, it’s true Mr. Herold is retiring after teaching for 37 years at Spring Valley Middle/High School.

“I’ve had a good ride here and I was treated well!” said award-winning art teacher Jim Herold as he spoke to this reporter for an interview for the Sun-Argus and Gateway News while starting to pack up things in his art classroom in the last room on the north east end of the school building. Jim is preparing to retire after a rewarding and distinguished career in teaching and coaching at the end of this school year.

The interview took place on Friday, April 27 during a morning class period that was being taught by student teacher Sean Sauter of Roseville, Minnesota. It was fun to spend the time talking with Mr. Herold; let’s begin finding out more about this amazing creative man.

Jim Herold grew up in Hopkins, Minnesota and graduated from then Eisenhower High School (now combined with Hopkins Senior High). He went to college at St. Cloud State in St. Cloud, Minnesota to study pre-medicine, as his plan was to be a trauma surgeon.

“Everyone in my family was an artist and I was not going to be one,” Mr. Herold said emphatically. He graduated from college with a degree in biology and began teaching 10th grade biology in St. Cloud.

But, apparently his family artistic roots ran too deep. His associate teachers kept asking why his classroom was always all painted.

Next Mr. Herold took a position as the Assistant Director of St. Cloud University in Denmark for one year. Where coincidentally he met his future wife, the lovely Audrey Alwell.

When he returned from Denmark Mr. Herold got his degree in art and started to look for a teaching job. He applied for openings in Hopkins and Spring Valley, Wisconsin. They both offered him a position on the same day and fortunately for us he chose Spring Valley.

Jim was single at the time and moved to Spring Valley and took a room for two months at the Strictly Modern Motel. “Let’s just say in wasn’t, but it did have a lot of natural science specimens living there too,” he said with a laugh.

Jim and Audrey were married in 1983 after dating for five years. Audrey is the Communications Director at Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) based in Spring Valley.

They have two beautiful daughters, Caitlin and Brienna. Caitlin graduated from Spring Valley High School in 2007 before graduating from college in Montana with honors. Brienna graduated from Metro Deaf School in the Twin Cities in 2010 at the top of her class as Valedictorian. She then graduated with top honors from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and is now in a graduate program for computer sciences in New York state.

Now that you know a bit more about Jim Herold’s background, here are some things you may not be aware of but are fascinating as well as quite impressive about our local art teacher. He also taught Earth Sciences and coached the State Champion Girl’s Cross Country racing team and top runners at State from Spring Valley High School.

Jim Herold became known in the State of Wisconsin, nationally and internationally through his published writings in numerous science and art publications that fostered a large web of numerous contacts among creative thinkers. He has worked with the United Nations on the conflict between development and the global environment. He was honored as the Wisconsin Environmental Educator of the Year.

Mr. Herold has worked with world-renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and national pollster George Gallop Jr.

Mr. Herold worked with the International Joint Commission, a bi-national product of the United States and Canada where he taught on Isle Royale representing the U.S. presenting ideas there.

He has worked with various Pacific Rim nations such Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, India, Nigeria and others.

Jim Herold worked with the Getty Foundation/Ohio State University to write their high school art education curriculum.

Mr. Herold is a Kohl Fellowship award winning teacher as well as being named the State of Wisconsin High School Art Teacher of the Year in 2005. He was also invited to co-present with Howard Gardener at the Regional Arts Conference.

All of these things he carried into the Spring Valley Science and Art curriculums.

Next week, we will continue this interesting interview with Mr. Jim Herold and he will discuss the good and bad about teaching in the State of Wisconsin.