Feature Teacher: Mrs. Harpster


Kara Engle

Mrs. Harpster has been the Myers principal since 2002.

Mrs. Terri Harpster, this month’s feature teacher, has been principal at Myers for 14 years and what’s interesting for her is the people!

Mrs. Harpster took over as principal at the Myers Elementary School here at Bellwood-Antis July of the 2002-2003 school year, making this her fourteenth year.

Mrs. Harpster said her favorite part about being principal at Bellwood is enjoying the students.

“I love their love of life and joyfulness over things we tend to take for granted as we get older,” she said. “Most of our students love all the adults that provide services to them.”

She also enjoys all of the staff.

“Teachers are the most important resource in school,” Mrs. Harpster said. “They tend to spend the most years in school, and have the most influence in the education developing self-identities.”

Her favorite “adult” part of the job is instructional leadership. She likes working with teachers and instructional aides.

Mrs. Harpster was inspired to become principal through her interest in leadership.

Honestly, former leaders at B-A have been instrumental in my career.

— Mrs. Hapster

She did not consider education as a profession until after she coached girls basketball at B-A for a few years.

While she was leading a summer basketball camp for elementary students, the high school principal, Mr. Mike Sakash, asked her if she ever considered teaching, and that January she started degree work for elementary education.  She was also a computer coach while she was teaching.

Former Superintendent Dr. Rodney Kuhns encouraged her to apply for the elementary principal’s positon after Mr. Jim Bilka retired.

Mrs. Harpster said, “Honestly, former leaders at B-A have been instrumental in my career: Mike Sakash, Rod Kuhns, and Bob Fisher.”

Before she was principal, she taught at least a year in first, second, third, and fourth grade.

She considered remaining in the classroom as a teacher for her entire career. She also loved her work as a computer coach.

A 1980 graduate of Bellwood-Antis and Altoona Vocational-Technical School (Graphic Arts), Mrs. Hapster completed her B.S in Elementary Education in 1993 and her M.E. in Educational Administration in 1999 at Penn State University. She also completed her superintendent’s letter of Eligibility at Penn State University.

Right now she is preparing to defend her dissertation in the Mid-Career Educational Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania and expects to graduate this May.

Her personal-professional goals are to complete her doctoral degree program at the University of Pennsylvania, and participate in a regional educator critical literacy group.