Longtime Board members Sherpinsky and Kerr will not seek reelection in fall
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TOWAMENCIN- After years of service and dedication to the North Penn School District, Mr. Vincent Sherpinsky and Mr. Timothy Kerr have declared that they will not seek reelection for a position on the School Board in the fall after the end of their terms.
Sherpinsky, current Board President, has served the NPSD since 1997, and he was reelected every four years to continue serving. In addition to his current position, Sherpinsky has held the office as Vice-President and positions on numerous Board committees. Kerr, also a longtime member, is currently in his sixteenth year, or his fourth term, on the Board. In addition to serving on committees, such as the special education and personnel committees, Kerr served as Vice President for about ten years.
Both Sherpinsky and Kerr explained that their children were educated in the NPSD, and they were inspired to get involved in the district.
“My kids went to school in North Penn,” said Sherpinsky. “I was inspired to run each and every time by seeing the hard work and dedication of the school board members, administrators, and other staff who were fighting to change North Penn for the better. I recognized early on that to make a difference you have to be involved. I wanted to add my voice to voices fighting to make North Penn a better place to live, work, and raise a family. With three kids attending North Penn schools, it just seemed like the right place to start making a difference.”
“I’m a big fan of the district obviously, and I believe in public education,” explained Kerr. “I believe in community service, and that’s why I got on the Board way back when. It sounds kinds of hokey to some people, but it truly is a reason that I got involved. More people need to get involved. If you really want to give back, you have to get involved. That doesn’t mean School Board, but it means township, little league, whatever it might be. You can’t complain unless you get involved, as far as I’m concerned.”
While the Board members’ inspiration to get involved is similar, their reasons for not seeking reelection in the fall differ. Kerr explained that there was no particular event or motive that caused him to make such a decision; instead, he knew that sixteen years, or four terms, was an appropriate amount of time spent on he Board.
“There was nothing that led me to tire of it,” stated Kerr. “I believe sixteen years is an appropriate amount of time. I believe other people need to get involved. I encourage other people to get involved. I have nothing against folks that want to spend more than that amount of time on the Board, but I think that it’s important to get other folks into it. I’ve helped. I’ve enjoyed it.”
Sherpinsky, however, explained that the decision not to rerun was a difficult one. Due to familiar changes that demand his attention, he doesn’t have the same amount of free time that he did before.
“Being a volunteer and an elected official takes a significant amount of time to do the job right,” stated Sherpinsky. “Recent changes to my immediate family have required my attention and I just don’t have the free time anymore. In July of 2016, I told my friends and family that I will finish my current term but I would not seek re-election.”
In addition to discussing their reasons for not seeking reelection, Sherpinsky and Kerr reflected on several moments throughout their time spent on the Board that seem to stand out more than others. Noting that the opportunity to speak at graduation has been rewarding and influential, Sherpinsky explained that witnessing the students, parents, and relatives’ euphoria is a unique experience that reminded him of the reason behind his service and hard work.
Speaking to a particular experience from his earlier days on the Board, Sherpinsky also noted the challenges he faced when noticing a lack of want for improvement.
“During my first term I noticed that there were people in key positions who did not want North Penn to be better, or change,” explained Sherpinsky. “I know that sounds shocking, but it is absolutely true… As a teacher, I know change and growth can be difficult and even painful at times. But the world changes and those that don’t change are doomed to be less prepared for the future. As a volunteer and outsider, someone who was just trying to do good, I was extremely disappointed how these people, who took so much from North Penn, were willing to do just about anything to prevent any change.”
Emphasizing that he doesn’t want to, and will not, take credit for any of the success that the NPSD has had and seen over the past decade, Kerr explained that he has enjoyed working with the district and community. For him, working with people has been most rewarding.
“I’m proud to have been a little piece of the pie that I think has put the district in a strong position and good footing for the future,” stated Kerr. “I think that I was helpful in bring the right people in, the right administrative team in… Over time, the success of our academics, the success of our music programs, the success of our sports programs. I’m happy. I feel good about where the district is and stepping away from it.”
When considering the variety of lessons and material gained from serving on the Board, Sherpinsky and Kerr discussed a common theme: constant learning and listening. Earning the Pennsylvania School Board Association’s designation of Master School Board Member, Sherpinsky noted that it helped him better himself as a Board member. Kerr also stressed that he learned the importance of listening, compromising, demonstrating respect, and showing a willingness to learn constantly.
The longtime Board members also offered advice to someone pursuing a position on the Board. Pointing out the importance of being ready to make tough decisions to continue improvement in the NPSD, Sherpinsky explained that the education of students should always be put first.
“North Penn must succeed,” stated Sherpinsky. “Students have their futures, families have their hopes and dreams, home owners have the property values, and the community needs to be a great place to live, work, and raise a family. This requires you to be able to say no, as well as, yes. The school district has limited resources. One of the duties of a school board member is to work within the limits given and maximize the return on investment we get from these limited resources. This means you can’t be all things to everyone. What you decide must be in the long-term interests of the students and the school district.”
Encouraging community members to get involved with the Board, Kerr noted that there is a learning curve, which takes a couple of years to get a feel for the job, but it proves to be extremely rewarding.
“If I were to tell the new Board members that replace me and Vince, I would tell them to listen, take it all in, ask questions, be respectful of the public and your administrators, and it will come,” explained Kerr. “Over time you’ll feel much more comfortable. You’ll learn how the business of education works, and I think you’ll be an asset to the Board and the district.”