After 46 years with Shawnee Mission, Indian Woods principal Jim Wink prepares for next chapter

Jim Wink is retiring this month after 46 years spent all with Shawnee Mission schools.
Jim Wink is retiring this month after 46 years spent all with Shawnee Mission schools.

This afternoon, dozens of parents, former students, and probably a handful of parents who were former students, will honor one of the most tenured educators in Shawnee Mission School District history.

Indian Woods Principal Jim Wink will be hanging up his ID badge this month after 46 years with Shawnee Mission. What’s more, he spent every single one of those 46 years at the junior high school or middle school level. In addition to his time at Indian Woods, Wink served as the principal of Mission Valley from 1988 to 1991 and of Indian Hills from 1993 to 2001.

“It was not my intent to remain in the same district for my entire career,” he said. “However, once in the district and being part of a highly dedicated group of professionals it was a no brainer.”

He says that being “able to work with parents and students who put a high priority on education” was also a major reason for staying in the district.

[pullquote]Jim Wink Reception
Wednesday, May 13
4-6 p.m.
Indian Woods Middle School
9700 Woodson, Overland Park[/pullquote]

As for the challenge of dealing with often-unpredictable middle schoolers, Wink said it kept him from getting bored.

“After 46 years you would think I would have seen and heard everything but that is wrong,” he said. “ I am still dealing with issues that are new and challenging which is a reason I keep coming through the door everyday. I truly and totally enjoy working with what we lovingly call the ‘Range of the Strange.’  One minute they are carrying on a highly intelligent conversation and then at the next passing period they are skipping down the hall or swinging from the ceiling beams. Welcome to middle school.”

Work isn’t the only area of his life where longevity is a notable characteristic. Wink has been married to his wife Joyce for 48 years.

“He’s pretty firm in his commitments: Church, job, marriage,” said Deana Zahnd, who served on the Indian Woods PTA board during Wink’s tenure as principal there.

But even with that penchant for commitment to work, Wink says he’s looking forward to having more time to spend with his family after retirement. He’s got a trip to take his granddaughter Karlie to Florida this summer “so she and my wife can walk on the beach while I watch the waves roll in.” Then there will be a trip to Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore in the fall.

After that, though, Wink won’t make any guarantees that he’s done with the education game forever. With 46 years in the business, it’s hard to imagine hanging it up for good.

“I have talked with a number of area colleges and universities with regard to teaching a class or two each semester related to students who want to be teachers,” he said.

The reception honoring Wink will be Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. at Indian Woods, 9700 Woodson, Overland Park.