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Local volunteer uses his time wisely

November 29, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - A Boonsboro resident has quite a bit on his plate - including working on two books, serving on the Washington County Citizens Advisory Committee and working in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Navy - but he doesn't think he is trying to do too much.

"You have to be committed and you have to be passionate in doing what you believe is right. You have to evaluate what is important and how to manage your time to fulfill those commitments, and sometimes there will be trade-offs," David Shifler, 53, said.

It also helps that his wife, Margaret, is supportive, he said.

Shifler said he decided several years ago to serve on the Citizens Advisory Committee for Boonsboro High School, where his son was going to school.

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Shifler said his goal was to "hopefully make a difference in our school and give to my community some of the benefits of my experiences."

When his son, Andrew, graduated, David Shifler sought to serve on the Washington County Citizens Advisory Committee.

"I volunteered to participate in the Washington County CAC, where I will not be influenced by what is the best for my child, but rather what is best for all students," he said.

Now, Shifler is in the position of being responsible for monitoring nine schools for the county agency: The Job Development Center, North Hagerstown High School, Washington County Technical High School, Northern Middle School, and Greenbrier, Paramount, Fountaindale, Pangborn and Winter Street elementary schools.

"It is way above and beyond the call of duty. If he is willing to do that, that is great," Washington County Board of Education President Edward Forrest said.

Shifler said since he can't attend all of the schools' meetings, he has asked a school representative to send him minutes for the meetings he can't attend. He also plans to visit each of the nine schools and, if possible, sit in on some classes, he said.

He is concerned that more parents are not involvement in groups like the schools' Citizens Advisory Committees. Each school has a committee, which has student and employee representation. Unlike PTAs, the school Citizens Advisory Committee can't do fund raising, he said.

Shifler is a scientist, researcher and engineer for the U.S. Navy. He has worked for the Navy since 1995.

He is updating an out-of-print book published in 1975 called "Marine Corrosion." He said the work requires an extensive rewrite because the technologies have changed so much in the last 30 years.

He also is editing a book about a symposium he attended in Hawaii. The book is called "Corrosion in Marine and Saltwater Environments II."

Shifler also is involved in numerous professional organizations, but he is especially passionate about education.

"Education is the cornerstone of our Republic, and after ethics and morality, providing a good education is the most important endeavor parents and the community can attain for our children," he said.

"I have had the benefit of some outstanding teachers who were integral in shaping my career starting at Boonsboro Elementary, and continuing through middle school, high school and college. I have observed numerous outstanding teachers perform the magic of engaging students of all backgrounds, who have had seemingly infinite patience with uncommunicative students until the learning light goes on," Shifler said.

Put simply, he said, "They helped me and I'd like to help them."

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