William H. Kerr, Ed.D.
Throughout his career as an educational and community leader, Dr. William H. Kerr, Jr., has consistently demonstrated a commitment to advocacy for children and youth and a devotion to public service as a way of life.
In his progressing roles from teacher to principal to administrator, as well as a four-year term as an elected county commissioner, Dr. Kerr has been guided by these three core beliefs:
- That all children and youth should have access and equity to K-12 educational programs and services, which will prepare them to succeed with 21st Century knowledge, skills and abilities;
- That good citizenship and character education provide the foundation for student leadership development, academic success and service learning; and
- That there is a strong correlation between the quality of our schools and the quality of our communities. Therefore, an investment in education is an investment in the economic vitality of the region.
The Norwin Board of Education appointed Dr. Kerr as Superintendent of Schools beginning July 1, 2010, and he was recently renewed for a five-year term that runs through June 30, 2020.
Dr. Kerr serves as a Director on the Boards for the Norwin School District Community Foundation, Norwin Chamber of Commerce, and the Westmoreland County Public Healthcare Consortium. Dr. Kerr is a member of the Westmoreland County Superintendents Association and serves on the Professional Advisory Committee for the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center.
Dr. Kerr serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland County and he is the Chairman of the Westmoreland County Forum for Workforce Development, which has the mission to connect business and education through coordinated opportunities to improve workforce quality and economic development. The Westmoreland Intermediate Unit and the county’s 17 school districts and three career and technical centers are part of the initiative.
Dr. Kerr earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in elementary education from Slippery Rock State College and a Master’s of Science education degree from Duquesne University. He holds Pennsylvania elementary and secondary principal certifications from Duquesne University and a Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility from the University of Pittsburgh.
In 1994, Dr. Kerr completed requirements for a Doctorate in Education and graduated from the Department of Administrative Policy and Studies, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. His dissertation was titled, A Triangular Model of Relationships: State Government, Economic Development and Education Policies. The research focused on the concerns of business and community leaders relative to state tax policy, regional workforce development, and local tax base stability. Fairness, equity, and adequacy of state funding systems were examined, including formula-based distributions and foundation levels for per-pupil spending to address disparity between rich and poor school districts.
Dr. Kerr served as a Visiting Fellow with the Department of Administrative Policy and Studies, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh, in 2007 to study the relationships between education and workforce quality. His fellowship focused on business-education partnerships, college and career pathways to jobs of the future, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education, and the integration of academics, career education, and technology. This has evolved to include the Arts, which has transformed the acronym into STEAM to include the visual, creative, and performing arts.
Dr. Kerr served previously as an elementary teacher and a principal in the Kiski Area School District, assistant superintendent in the Leechburg Area School District, and as superintendent of schools for the Apollo-Ridge and Armstrong School Districts. Also, Dr. Kerr served at Lenape Technical School as superintendent of record. He served as an Armstrong County Commissioner and Apollo town councilman and mayor in addition to serving on the Armstrong County Industrial Development Authority.
Dr. Kerr is a 2013 graduate of the Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program. The Program brought together a diverse group of professionals who were interested in learning more about key policy issues while also enhancing their own leadership skills. Program participants held full-time positions in diverse organizations at the local, state, and national levels. The Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) is a professional development program for individuals whose work record reflects strong leadership abilities and a concern for issues important to children and education. The 10-month Program included monthly leadership forums in Harrisburg, a regional leadership forum at the United States Army War College and the Gettysburg Battlefield, and a policy seminar in Washington, D. C.
Dr. Kerr is a 2015 graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Citizens Academy and has an educational leadership role with the FBI Pittsburgh Division’s Community Outreach Program and its Heroin Outreach Education and Prevention (HOPE) Initiative. This initiative encompasses 7 Intermediate Units and respective school districts in 11 Southwestern Pennsylvania Counties. In addition to Focus Groups that have been established for survey questions and confidential and anonymous responses from parents and students about drug awareness and prevention, a Pilot Teen PSA Video and Graphic Design Contest and a New Face of Heroin Documentary are currently underway as part of the HOPE initiative in the Pittsburgh region.
Dr. Kerr also serves in a leadership role with the FBI Pittsburgh Division’s Cyber Security STEM Program, which is anticipated to begin in the 2016-17 school year for interested junior and seniors. After reading about the Norwin School District’s STEM Innovation Program, the FBI contacted the administration about their interest in creating a cyber-curriculum. The program, in partnership with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Departments of Criminology and Computer Science, will include Cyber Security and Loss Prevention; Cyber Security and the Law; and Host Computer Security. The two educational entities are developing an articulation agreement so that high school teachers in the Business, Computer, and Information Technology Department can teach the elective courses. Through dual enrollment, students will receive IUP college credits. The FBI will offer leadership and support services and will conduct in-school presentations, parent-teacher night presentations, and participate in the annual Scheduling Fair for students. The FBI’s worldwide presence gives young people many career opportunities such as special investigative agents, scientists, information technology specialists, forensic accountants, foreign language specialists, intelligence analysts, and analysts in cyber, computer science, mathematics, and statistics.
Dr. Kerr’s Annual Performance Evaluations, based on Objective Performance Standards under the Pennsylvania Model of Evaluation, have been rated by the Norwin Board of Education as Distinguished in each of the following areas: Student Growth and Achievement; Organizational Leadership; District Operations and Financial Management; Communication and Community Relations; Human Resource Management; and Professionalism.