Kerry Heil moves into retirement following Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis

Campbell WilliamsonNarrogin Observer
Retiring Narrogin Primary School teacher Kerry Heil.
Camera IconRetiring Narrogin Primary School teacher Kerry Heil. Credit: Picture: Tom Shanahan

Having worked through Parkinson’s disease for more than five years, long-serving Narrogin teacher Kerry Heil has decided it’s time to retire.

Ms Heil has spent more than two decades as an educator, working as an education assistant at East Narrogin Primary School before serving as a teacher and health and physical education specialist at Narrogin Primary School since 2009.

Inspiring multiple generations of children, she said she had always encouraged students to “go with your gut and fulfil your dreams”.

But while she still has the passion for teaching, Ms Heil’s battle with Parkinson’s has started to take a toll, leaving her tired and struggling to speak

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition that can affecting mood, thinking and motor skills.

While these symptoms can be treated with medication, there is no known cure for the condition.

Reflecting on her career in education, Ms Heil said her transition to teaching was challenging.

“I stood at the back of the classroom one day and I said ‘someone’s got to teach these kids’ and I said ‘oh, that’ll be me’.”

“Because of being an EA for so long, I didn’t think I’d make it as a teacher and that was why I was standing at the back of the room.

“Looking back on it now, I think it was really hard because my children were at school then as well and I was raising three boys with my husband and finding it quite difficult to study, but I got through it.”

Through dedication and a just-do-it attitude, she honed her teaching craft.

Ms Heil said she was sad to be leaving teaching but she wanted to thank the community for their support.

“I’m really sad because the choice has been made for me,” she said.

“My voice is going and I get awfully tired, I can’t keep up with the children.

“Narrogin primary have been really supportive, they’ve helped a lot. I wouldn’t have made it through the last five years if it wasn’t for them.

“I want to thank the community and staff at Narrogin Primary School, and my family.”

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