ELDRIDGE — Glen Keppy didn't let a lack of prior school board experience get in the way of accepting an appointment Monday to the North Scott School District board.
The rural Scott County farmer, who says he has seen in the inside of the White House many times, knows the first thing you do in a new post is "sit and listen."
Five of North Scott's six board members appointed Keppy to fill the void left by the death of Dennis Albertson.
The sixth member, Donn Wilmott, abstained, preferring a special election to choose a successor.
"He was great, and we'll miss him dearly," board member John Maxwell said of Albertson. "But we've got to move on."
Maxwell added that Keppy is a "huge asset" to the school board and "brings a lot of knowledge."
Board president Paul Dierickx also was excited about the "variety of experience" Keppy has.
Keppy was a lifelong soybean, corn and hog farmer when, in 2006, President George W. Bush tapped him to serve as associate administrator of the Farm Service Agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a post he had for three years.
"I spent a lot of time in the White House," he said of the experience. "I was invited to Christmas. I also sat on the front lawn watching the fireworks."
Keppy has also served on the boards of the National Pork Producers and Scott County and Iowa farm bureaus.
He once had a shot at playing professional football. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1970 with a degree in technical agriculture, Keppy joined the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I was drafted the same year as Terry Bradshaw," Keppy said. "I roomed with him the first week."
In his new role as a school board member, Keppy wants to help North Scott as it embarks on a building project to ease overcrowding.
With six of his eight grandchildren in the school district, along with seven nieces and nephews, Keppy said he also wants to build on the Eldridge-based school district's already strong curriculum that produces numerous scholarship winners a year.
"I just want to build on the success this board has had over the years and help them make this district even stronger," he said.