Outstanding Tiger Alumnus
Jim Sherbon, a 1956 graduate of Arkansas City Junior College, is the 2006 recipient of the Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award. The award will be presented during the 83rd commencement exercises May 6 in W.S. Scott Auditorium. “It’s a great honor, I was literally swept off my feet,” Sherbon said. “I am very humbled and very honored. I guess it means that somewhere along the line I have apparently done something right.”
A 1954 graduate of Arkansas City High School, Sherbon has been teaching for more than 47 years. He taught music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro from 1975 until his retirement in 2002. He and his wife, Glenda, moved back to Lenexa, KS in 2002, but retirement would have to wait as the university failed to fill Sherbon’s position, and the school asked if he would help them by teaching graduate music classes from his home over the internet. He decided to sign a one-year contract and keep his dissertation advisees. In May 2005 Sherbon hooded his last three dissertation students with their doctorates during UNC-Greensboro’s commencement. He is currently working as a substitute teacher in the Olathe school district. “I found out I don’t want to retire,” Sherbon said.
Sherbon credits Arkansas City’s legendary instrumental music instructor August Trollman with getting him started in music. Trollman visited Sherbon’s fourth grade class at Washington Elementary School in Arkansas City and encouraged the students to join the band. “This man, on that day, changed my life from that point forward,” Sherbon said. He became proficient at playing the trombone and had thoughts of playing professionally. He also thought of working for his father’s automobile repair shop, but decided to pursue a career as a music educator. Sherbon, who was in band, orchestra, and was student conductor and president of the band at Arkansas City High School, went on to play in the pep band at ACJC.
He has fond memories of his time at the school. “My fondest memories are of playing for August Trollman and sitting on the stage with the pep band during the basketball games,” Sherbon said. “I also enjoyed being able to meet new students that were from outside Ark City. I established some good friendships with students from neighboring towns.” After graduating from ACJC, Sherbon went on to attend Emporia State Teachers College. Taking part in the school’s teacher education program, he completed upper level courses and his student teaching assignment. Sherbon accepted a teaching assistantship at Emporia State his senior year and began studying for a master’s degree, which he earned, in music education, in May 1960. While working toward his graduate degree, Sherbon conducted Emporia State’s marching band and taught private brass lessons and methods classes. He went on to teach band and orchestra at Argentine Junior/Senior High School in Kansas City for eight years. However, he felt he was in a rut creatively, and decided to begin work on a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas in 1969, and quit working at Argentine in May 1970.
Following his doctorate, Sherbon remained at KU for one year to administer a Humanities program under a research grant. Then came a one-year appointment at the University of Texas at Austin. One year later, Sherbon was hired by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The position was defined as graduate music education and research. In 1983, Sherbon was named director of graduate studies in music education, a position he held for 15 years. While administering the program, he advised close to 200 students in a curricular way and eight to 10 graduate students at the dissertation stage, while still managing to teach. While currently serving as a substitute teacher, Sherbon has taught band, orchestra, computer, social studies, drama, and industrial technology. He took seven hours of graduate course work last summer and is fully licensed to teach band or orchestra.
Sherbon credits former ACJC instructors such as Trollman, Kenneth Judd, Paul Johnson, Dan Kahler, Allan Maag and Dan Stark for helping provide him with a solid foundation. Sherbon is looking forward to coming back for the school’s 83rd commencement ceremony. “I would not miss it for anything,” Sherbon said. “It is such an honor that I would almost walk there to make it back.” The Sherbons have two daughters, Gina and Juli, and one grandson, Josh. Staying busy with his teaching, family, and wood turning hobby, Sherbon is as busy as ever. Still going strong after 47 years of teaching, Sherbon is not sure he will ever retire.