Gerhardt Hees

The Half Moon Bay High School community is mourning the loss of a teacher this week. Review file photo

The Half Moon Bay High School community is reeling today after the death of a well-respected math teacher. Principal John Nazar said Gerhardt Hees, in his fifth year as a teacher at the school, has died.

Details of Hees’ death were not immediately available. Nazar said he learned on Wednesday that Hees had died. He understood the death resulted from a medical issue, but details were not immediately available.

Hees was teaching five classes at the high school. Two of those classes met on Thursday, hours after the school community learned of Hees’ death. Nazar said he spoke to students in the classes and that they had brought three bouquets of roses and cards to give to the family.

“It was like getting punched in the gut,” Nazar said of learning of his colleague’s death. “He developed a rapport and style with students. He had high expectations and also a lot of compassion for his students. Over a period of time he really built a lot of trust."

Hees was a native and citizen of South Africa. According to what appears to be his LinkedIn profile, Hees had impressive academic credentials. In addition to a master’s degree in education and a Ph.D in philosophy from Newport University, the profile says he had a master’s in business from Harvard.

Nazar said Hees had been a teacher and the headmaster of school in South Africa before coming to the United States.

Hees lived on the coast and was active in the school community. He was the teacher representative to the high school’s parent-teacher organization and often attended school sporting events, Nazar said.

In a letter to the school community sent on Wednesday, Nazar said counselors would be available to talk to students.

Clay Lambert is the editorial director for Coastside News Group. After years working at regional daily newspapers, he began as editor of the Half Moon Bay Review in 2004.

(1) comment

Patrick McKee

Dr. Hees was a great teacher and person. My son had him AP Stats and thought the world of him.

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