Horning returns to hometown Pierz to teach Spanish

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Born and raised in Pierz, Kim Horning has returned to teach Spanish to the students of today. She and her husband, Hans, are looking at staying in the area long-term.

Horning, the daughter of Jacki and Rey Zimney, graduated from Pierz in 1992. She attended the University of Minnesota-Morris where she received her bachelor’s degree in secondary education in both Spanish and human services.

“When I was in high school, we were offered German and Spanish, both through interactive television,” she said. “My father was a teacher at Pierz and also an inspiration for me. I always knew I would be a teacher, but thought it would be in mathematics.”

Kim Horning has returned to Pierz High School as its Spanish teacher. She graduated from the district in 1992.
Kim Horning has returned to Pierz High School as its Spanish teacher. She graduated from the district in 1992.

While Spanish became a greater love, the idea of math or counseling was still uppermost in Horning’s mind. She said it wasn’t until her junior year in college that she changed to Spanish.

“While at Morris, I interned in Willmar at a migrant school, then studied in Venezuela for a semester in 1995,” Horning said. She graduated from Morris in 1997, with three majors: Spanish, secondary education and human services. She minored in coaching and received her certification.

She always thought she would return to Pierz to teach.

Horning has been teaching Spanish now for 17 years in several Minnesota communities. She spent two years at Mayer Lutheran High School in Waconia, then moved to Costa Rica with a friend for four months to teach English.

Then it was back to Minnesota again just before the turn of the century where she taught at St. Cloud Technical High School as a long-term substitute for the rest of the school year.

From St. Cloud, Horning moved to Frazee and taught for a year. She then got a job at the Grand Forks, N.D., High School for two years.

“I was called back as a long-term substitute again at St. Cloud Technical High School for the year,” she said.

Horning then taught Spanish at Zimmerman and was there for four years.

In 2009, she was hired at  Pierz Healy High School. At that time, she owned a townhome in the Zimmerman area that she had trouble selling, so she returned to Zimmerman and worked at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School for four years.

“I also coached volleyball, dance, cheering and/or track at all the schools I worked at,” she said.

Still not selling her home, and confronted with an opportunity to come back to Pierz, she and Hans decided to rent their townhome and move to Pierz.

“We want to raise our family in Pierz,” Horning said. “And, on the professional side, I want to teach high school students. I want to make three-year connections with my students and see them develop in their ability to learn Spanish.”

Horning’s plans while in Pierz include a trip to Costa Rica with her students in June 2014. She said she has previously taken groups to Spain and Costa Rica. She also chaperoned a mission trip through Grace Covenant Church in Little Falls to Monterrey, Mexico.

Horning will also continue the Pierz Spanish Club started by Michelle Osten. She and her students will be attending the Festival of nations in the Twin Cities, plus visit the Mayan exhibit at the Science Museum in St. Paul.

The Hornings have two daughters, Fiona, 3, and Ella, 1 1/2.

Hans is a history teacher who is currently substituting in the area. He also coaches seventh grade football.

The family loves to travel and Horning and her husband run 5K races, half marathons and have completed one full marathon.