Home World Fixture in Walker School classrooms for 33 years is retiring

Fixture in Walker School classrooms for 33 years is retiring


Walker School isn’t going to be the same when students return in the fall for the 2024-25 school year.

That’s because Kristin Jung, who has been a fixture in first- and second-grade classrooms, won’t be teaching at the Clarendon Hills school for the first time since 1990. She is retiring at the end of the current school year.

Walker School was the only place Jung has ever worked as a teacher, starting in 1991. She taught first grade for 25 years and is completing her eighth year with second-graders.

Kristin Jung works with students in her classroom (Walker School)
Kristin Jung works with students in her classroom (Walker School)

“I decided to become a teacher because I always enjoyed working with children,” she said. “I worked at the Hinsdale Pool and then Salt Creek in high school and college. I taught swimming lessons and coached the swim team which I enjoyed.”

Jung grew up in Hinsdale and went to Madison School, Hinsdale Junior High and Hinsdale Central. She has lived in Clarendon Hills for the past 30 years.
“I feel fortunate to live in the community where I grew up and to have been a part of such an amazing school community,” she said.

Jung felt right at home from the start with the younger students at Walker School, which has children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“I always enjoyed working with primary-aged kids because at this age they are learning so many new things, like learning to read,” she said. “The kids really make so much progress in first and second grade, which is so fun to watch as they unlock the mystery.

“I really enjoy getting to know the kids and helping each one get better at whatever it is that they are learning. Each child is different and has a variety of strengths and weaknesses. I love being able to help them reach their learning targets and see them succeed.”

Walker School Principal Eric Chisausky worked with Jung for about 10 years and had very positive things to say about her.

“She brings impressive energy and dedication to her students, and as a resident of Clarendon Hills, our school community has enjoyed a special relationship with her and her family over her 33 years teaching at Walker School,” Chisausky said. “She can best be remembered for advocating for her students, cheering on their successes, and hosting biking and ice cream trips with them as special PTO auction rewards.”

Chisausky said that as the Walker School principal, he will miss Jung’s willingness to change and evolve as students’ needs evolved over time.

“She is a true professional and will have many friends at Walker who would love to see her return as a substitute teacher when she’s ready,” he said.

Jung said she and her husband are looking forward to traveling more after she retires. But returning as a substitute teacher is likely,

“We are hoping to go to Australia in 2026,” she said. “We will also spend more time in Florida during the winter. I am sure I will sub a little bit, and we are expecting our first grandchild this fall, so we are excited about that.”

Nika Feeney has two daughters who have had Jung as a second-grade teacher and called her “wonderful” as a teacher.

“She truly cares about her students and wants them to succeed,” Feeney said. “After 33 years of teaching, she knows exactly how eight-year-old brains work and how to motivate each child to do his/her best.”

Feeney said Jung also goes above and beyond, and gives 100% to her students every day.

“In that regard, she’s not only an amazing teacher, but a great role model, always inspiring her students to do their best,” Feeney said. “I feel so lucky that both my children had her as a second-grade teacher.”

Having been at Walker School for so many years, Jung has had many students return to visit.

“I have taught former students’ children, and there are also several teachers in District 181 who were my students,” she said. “I live in the community, so I often run into students and love hearing about what they’re doing.”

If she had not become a teacher, Jung said she may have done something in the fitness or health-related field.

“I know I would have chosen a people profession since I enjoy working with others,” she said.

While Jung no longer be teaching at Walker School, at least on a full-time basis, she has plenty of great memories of her 33-year career there.

“I have loved being at Walker School,” she said. “The families and the staff are so supportive.  We have an amazing PTO, and I have been able to work with some amazing people during my career. I will miss my colleagues, and I will miss the kids.”

Chuck Fieldman is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

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