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Bremerton Superintendent Herndon ready for ‘the life-blood of schools’

Lester
Lester 'Flip' Herndon
— image credit: File photo

Bremerton School District Superintendent Lester “Flip” Herndon has been in his position for nearly two months and said the experience so far has been “very positive.”

“It is a good way to start the year,” Herndon said. “I have met some parents and students and I am meeting the staff as they come back. I am just excited about fall. That is the life-blood of schools. It totally changes the dynamic of life in general.”

On July 1, Herndon stepped into the position of working with the school board to come up with a workable budget for the 2009-10 school year and beyond in a state of economic upheaval. But he said the economic issues are widespread and proportionally, Bremerton’s financial state is no more challenging than that of other districts in the state.

“The biggest issue is the unknown,” Herndon said of the upcoming “funding cliff,” when federal stimulus dollars will no longer be available to schools. “We know it is a cliff, but we don’t know how steep it is. A 20-foot cliff is much different from a 250-foot cliff.”

Herndon said public education is crucial to the economy and society into the future. He also said health care and education are not mutually exclusive ideas and educating kids on the benefits of health care can have positive ramifications in the long run.

“If we can prepare (kids) to make a choice, it will help our society in the future,” he said.

Herndon’s educational philosophy is to get kids to “own their education.” Making children realize the value of the education provided to them for free is key to getting them excited about school, but the district can’t do it alone, he said.

Herndon also said education opportunities are available at differing levels of cost, but higher-priced educational systems are not necessarily better educational systems.

“Schools like Harvard have staff and resources most schools do not share,” he said. “But studying with the person considered to be the very best in a particular field does not guarantee you a good learning experience.”

Overall, Herndon said he is “excited about this year” and has “high expectations for staff, teachers and students.”

“Bremerton has a lot to offer,” he said. “And, in return, they want the best for their children.”

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