Wildcat Tracks: Jason Sefrit ’91
When your wife, niece, sister, and dad have all worked in education, you might say that serving in a school system runs in the family! “I always enjoyed working with and relating to people…family, friends, adults…anyone,” says Jason Sefrit ’91. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher and coach coming out of college. I served at Truman State as an assistant in the women’s basketball program. While there, I realized the necessity for organization, caring, mentoring, encouraging, and the details of running a program. Upon graduation, I was blessed to have multiple choices of job offers to teach, including Westminster. My wife, Tanya, and I decided to accept positions in a growing district in St. Charles County, MO.”
Jason began his career as a teacher at Progress West Elementary School, while also filling other roles like Head Basketball Coach at Ft. Zumwalt South High School. He went on to become Assistant Principal in Ft. Zumwalt, then Head Principal of Westhoff Elementary for 15 years. “Though we were convinced that it was God’s calling to become educators, certainly He provided the path to the principalship. Tanya and I believed that His next calling was for me to accept the position of Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in the City of St. Charles School District (SCSD), where I served for two years. Next up was God’s hand preparing me to interview for and be selected as Superintendent of Schools in SCSD, where I have served the past three years. Total timeline so far…a 25-year career in public education.”
Looking back, Jason wouldn’t change a thing. He is living out the saying that if you find a job you love, it won’t feel like a job. “I’ve loved and enjoyed my career! My working philosophy stems from my faith, family, friends, and mentors: ‘Be the best at whatever job God has given you.’ I loved being a teacher, coach, principal, and now district administrator. My focus has always remained on “the job at hand with vision toward the future.” I firmly believe that by doing my best with the gifts and guidance which God has blessed me with, more and greater opportunities will become available. I’m blessed that they have!”
Jason’s years as a student at Westminster prepared him to step into what would become an educational leadership role.
I loved my experiences at WCA: they helped prepare me for my professional love and calling over the past quarter century — serving in public education. I have the opportunity and privilege to make a difference in the lives of not only students, but adults as well…every day!
“It’s truly hard to imagine that it’s been 30 years since my days at Westminster!” Jason says. “However, I remember many of the highlights, including my favorite classes: Mr. Tim Hall (science), Mr. Tim Baldwin (history), and Dr. Scott Holley (English). I have great memories of playing on our Wildcat basketball and baseball teams, enjoying key events and experiences such as the hiking/camping trip, summer basketball team camps, being a Peer Counselor, serving as junior class treasurer, the senior trip to Colorado, Spirit Week, and our senior service project at Delmar Gardens.” Jason credits those events with shaping his spiritual outlook today. “At Westminster, I learned to enjoy life with good friends, to serve, to reach out to others who may be unlike yourself, and to study and work hard,” he says. “For most of us, this approach to living our faith began at home, but we were also blessed to interact with caring teachers and coaches who we saw as mentors, as people who sincerely cared about and supported us. We learned valuable knowledge which we found meaningful, and we learned to apply it to our lives. Westminster helped strengthen and further cultivate my faith through a safe, caring, yet challenging environment.”
Then and now: Barth Holohan ’91, Jason Sefrit ’91, Brian Middendorf ’91, Jeremy Marsh ’91
This has been what may be called the toughest year those in education have ever faced. In his role as superintendent, Jason has met tough challenges head-on by leading a district which has been serving its students full time — something most schools elected not to offer until much later in the school year. “We are so proud of the job our SCSD staff has done during the pandemic. Challenges have certainly been plentiful for us all during this pandemic…challenges that no one has ever experienced,” he says. “Together, our SCSD professionals planned and successfully implemented tens, perhaps hundreds, of avenues to address the challenges as they occurred. We were forced to close schools in the spring of 2020, yet we kept students and families engaged with learning and ensured that our low-income families received necessary food and supplies. We met the needs of staff, students, and families while closing the gap in learning due to the closure. We accomplished all of this in addition to preparing for a smooth start to classes and activities in August, with in-person and virtual learning. This year has been a success due to the strength of our united effort, where each and every person is considered ‘essential!’ It’s taken everyone’s best efforts to successfully navigate this unprecedented time!”
If there is one take-away Jason has learned from leading during a pandemic, it’s that there is always room for kindness. “My prayer, my continual hope, is for everyone to find and give a little more grace to one another in all aspects of life. This time hasn’t been easy for anyone, but if we take the time to really listen well (perhaps one of the greatest gifts in addition to love that we can give to another) and seek understanding, our world would be a kinder and gentler place: a place where we could work better together, especially in the areas related to faith, government, education, gender, race — all facets of life.”