Kevin Richins: Helping High Schoolers Find Wonder

This post is part of the Lynden Schools Staff Spotlight series

There’s a past world to explore and students in Kevin Richin’s Lynden High School classes do so with a bit of wonder. In his 22nd year teaching at LHS, Richins says each day he aims to develop ways students can get interested in learning new things about both the past and themselves. Along the way, Richins is doing that himself, both within the local outdoor community and by volunteering time to hang out with high schoolers even more. 

The Role

Richins views the LHS social studies department as a place where students can tackle the big challenges of humanity, from the past into the future. “We help students understand who we are because of who we have been, and also who we can choose to become,” he says. “Each teacher in the department brings their own excitement and flair to their course and builds relationships with so many students that the impact is immeasurable.”

For Richins, he feeds off the curiosity and enthusiasm from the students and loves watching them get interested in history and asking new questions, which invites him to keep learning. “I love exploring the world with students. Helping students to find the wonder in the people that are part of this world is a lot of what I do,” he says. “I try to develop assignments and activities that students can relate to and use as a way to connect with new ideas, people and places.” 

Calling it an honor to be entrusted with the community’s youth, Richins says the family support in Lynden is remarkable and the students continue to surprise him in good ways with their thoughtfulness, kindness and respect. “At a time in life when it is easy to treat others poorly, many are choosing to give kindness and a smile instead,” he says. 

Apart from the social studies department—Richins credits the staff in every corner of LHS for placing the well-being of students as their number-one priority—he remains connected to students beyond the school day. He serves as the advisor for the LHS Dungeons and Dragons Club and almost every week students get together to tell stories and have adventures together. “They get to be themselves by pretending to be someone else,” he says.

That’s not all. He has coached track and cross country at both LHS and Lynden Middle School over the years. “I find that time so rewarding as I get to help student-athletes improve and grow,” he says. “There is a thrill every time an athlete gets a personal best or accomplishes a goal in a race. You can usually hear me cheering from across the track. I get loud because our students are worth a few extra decibels of support.” 

Getting to Know Kevin

That love of competitive running Richins shares with the students at LHS and LMS is part of his personal life. He enjoys the outdoors, from backpacking and mountain climbing to kayaking and stargazing. As a member of the Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers, the local astronomy club, he’s outside in both the day and night. 

Time with his family is part of the routine for Richins. He enjoys working around the house with his wife and spending time with their three children (one at college at Utah State University and two in high school), such as attending their soccer games.