As the school year closes, there are many changes, including changes to the staff at Sterling High School. There are eight staff members leaving this year, creating a gap for the administration to fill.
Included in the eight of staff members leaving at the end of the year are Principal Bill Anderson, librarian Sherilyn McPherson, band director Larry Brownlee, special education teacher Jennifer Mantz, chemistry teacher Matt Perkins, and industrial arts teacher Josh Pounds. High school secretary Pam Smith and para Sherry Lackey are also leaving as they are both retiring. Brownlee particularly notable because he has worked at Sterling for 34 years.
Brownlee was a 1976 graduate of Sterling High School, and a 1980 Sterling College graduate. After teaching in Chase in January of 1981, and Eureka in the fall of 1982, Brownlee came back to his hometown to teach band in 1985.
After three Sweepstakes winners at the Worlds of Fun Band Festival, 11 KMEA performances, a 1998-1999 Grammy signature school, and countless 1 ratings at state music festivals, Brownlee decided it was the right time to switch to Sterling College.
“The college band use to be really strong, and it’s been up and down for the last several years,” Brownlee said. “I want to see that program grow and get stronger.”
Along with Brownlee, Principal Bill Anderson will also be leaving this year.
Anderson came to Sterling in the summer of 2007 and started his first year at Sterling in August of 2007.
Before coming to Sterling, Anderson was the assistant principal and athletic director at Nickerson High School from 1998-2007.
Anderson has been the schools principal for 12 years and has developed many strong relationships with the staff and students.
“I have enjoyed working with a solid group of educators who care about Sterling students,” Anderson said. “I have also really enjoyed the students that come through my building, and I am always a little sad during graduation each year to watch a group leave.”
After his many years at Sterling, Anderson felt it was the right time and opportunity to try something new.
He was recently hired to be the superintendent of the Canton-Galva school district next year.
Out of the eight staff members leaving there are two staff members retiring. High school secretary Pam Smith is retiring this year. Smith came to Sterling in 1990 after working at KMW from 1978-1984 before taking two years off and working there again until 1990.
Smith had never thought about retirement until three years ago when she attended retirement meetings and met with other retirees before seriously considering it.
Smith was planning on waiting one more year, but after discussing it with her husband, she decided to retire after this year.
“I am looking forward to going to my grandkids, school events and being available to help my parents when needed. I am also looking forward to sitting outside in the mornings without having to get ready to go to work,” Smith said.
Smith has enjoyed her 29 years here at Sterling High, including the students.
“I have enjoyed getting to know students that I would never see except here at school, and I consider the staff as family,” Smith said.
The administration has already started to fill positions for Perkins, Mantz, Pounds, Brownlee, McPherson, and interviewed candidates for the principal position on April 30.