Helen S. Chin, born in San Francisco in 1948, graduated in 1971 from San Francisco State University, where she also earned her master's degree in educational administration She began her career at San Francisco Unified School District in 1972 as a bilingual education resource teacher. In 1976, she worked at Commodore Stockton Elementary School in Chinatown, where she was a curriculum coordinator and first- and second-grade teacher. Later, she served in the district's bilingual education office. In the 1980s, Ms. Chin was the assistant principal of James Lick Middle School and principal of Leonard R. Flynn and William J. Cobb elementary schools.
In 1990, Ms. Chin returned to Commodore Stockton as principal. During her tenure, the school was renamed Gordon J. Lau Elementary in honor of the former San Francisco supervisor. She also served as president of the Association of Chinese Teachers (TACT), an organization that advocates for Chinese American students, teachers and parents; and board member and officer at Chinese for Affirmative Action. She was active in voter registration drives in Chinatown and at Self Help for the Elderly and On Lok Senior Center In 1979, Ms. Chin and other TACT members organized to defend bilingual teachers threatened with layoffs in the wake of Proposition 13.
Ms. Chin died June 25 of a brain aneurysm at UCSF Medical Center. She was 56. She is survived by her son, Jonathan, a student at Marina Middle School; two sisters, Marian Lim of San Francisco and Catherine Chin of Pleasanton; and a brother, Thomas Chin of San Francisco. (Source: Vanessa Hua, San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 2003)