Gery Gerst was born in Houston, Texas but moved to Seattle and attended grade school and high school there. After moving to Olympia, he graduated from St. Martin’s College with a Valedictorian degree in Education, History and Spanish, and earned a Master’s in Education from Western Washington University. He taught Social Studies at Olympia High School for 29 years and served as a leader in the teacher’s union 25 of those.
Upon retirement, he became an adjunct professor of education at St. Martin’s and served as president of the Education Division Advisory Board. He then spent 12 years as a professor in the Masters in Teaching program at TESC and helped write and bargain the teachers’ union contract there. He was awarded four Teacher of the Year awards from the Olympia School Board, Olympia Education Association, and OHS Student Body, as well as a Distinguished Educator Award from St. Martin’s. He was chosen as a “Distinguished Alum” by St. Martin’s in 2016. He has worked as a tour guide at the state capitol, designed and taught the Olympia region’s first Women’s Studies course, and designed the Olympia School District’s Bicentennial curriculum, as well as a civics curriculum for the State Capitol Visitor Center. His curriculum on voting was adopted by the Washington Secretary of State and other states. He is passionate about teaching and learning history left out of textbooks, especially the Herstory of women, and that of minority groups, and enjoys working with life-long learners.
Today he helps evaluate applications for scholarships for the D.A.R. Sacajawea Chapter, teaches U.S. History courses for adults in several areas (including the Electoral College, the Constitution, Women’s Her-story, and more). Besides enjoying reading and learning about local history, he also works for social justice causes, helps distribute items to area Latinos in need via the county food bank, works for political campaigns, and enjoys singing in the church choir.