Welcome to Our New Board President: Kendon Perry

We are happy to introduce you to our new board president, Kendon Perry, agent/financial advisor with Farm Bureau Insurance and Financial Services. Kendon has been on our board for seven years and has stepped into the president position as of May of this year.


Kendon grew up in Coeur d’Alene and graduated from CDA High School in the late 70s. He was raised in a family with strong beliefs in the value of education. Even his grandfather, who possibly wasn’t educated beyond third grade, built a business and thriving lifestyle. Despite his lack of education, he instilled in Kendon the desire to learn and to go out and make a life for himself. In 2003, Kendon moved to Sandpoint to raise his family and grow his business.

Here is his story in his words:

When my wife and I moved here, the reputation of the school district was not spectacular, and for a moment, we considered not putting our children through public school, but at the end of the day, I have strong feelings about the importance of public education. And so we looked closely at the elementary schools and settled on Sagle Elementary, one of the higher-rated schools. We still live in Sagle today. 

In 2002 PAFE was formed as a solution and advocate for LPOSD. I saw early on the organization’s impact in the classroom when my daughter participated in an art program funded by PAFE. This was one of many encounters I would have throughout both my kids’ journeys through the school system. These programs (through teacher grants) provide resources to teachers who, normally, would either have to use their own money or not do it at all. In other words, those programs simply wouldn’t take place. 

I didn’t know at the time, of course, that I would eventually join the board of directors. During the vetting process (PAFE has a rigorous vetting process for their board), it was Mel Dick who told me that this is one of the most gratifying board positions I will ever sit on. He’s right. 

The district has improved enormously since 2003, and more resources have become available. Combine that with the strong resource of passionate teachers, and I can truly say both of my kids had a positive experience. There were bumps along the way, but I contend those bumps are important to a person’s growth. I think it’s important not to make a perfect experience for your children. They need to experience some adversity to build resilience. Show them; role model for them what it looks like to work through issues, how to collaborate and work towards a solution. 

Today, I’m honored to sit as president on a board for an organization that is so well-run. The founders (Bill Berg and Mindy Cameron) were intentional about what they wanted to do, and we are still delivering on that mission: To do well by our community by supporting education. 

Like my daughter’s art project at Sagle Elementary, the many other PAFE grants represent an investment of a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, and it impacts anywhere from 25 or 50 students in the classroom, plus the parents involved. But that’s one of 46 grants that impact 1380 children* for an investment of $111,000.

I saw the positive impact firsthand as my kids were growing up, but I think about those students who don’t have parental involvement, and I see we can give something tangible that they can then carry through their lifetime.

The fact that we can collaborate with the school administration and the teachers to fill gaps in funding with innovative programs amplifies our impact. These programs are not our ideas. PAFE does not mandate them. They are teacher-led ideas and leadership-driven initiatives. Our programs are far more successful and impactful on our students because it’s their ideas, not someone else’s. 

As president of the board, we plan to continue a strong focus on our fundraising. As we face uncertainty in the economy and our community grows, this continues to be at the forefront of our minds. The need in the school district has not lessened. Our Residential Carpentry Program, as part of the enhanced Continuing Technical Education (CTE) curriculum, will continue to be a priority within that. This really helps those students who don’t see the four-year degree and career path for themselves. We don’t want to push round pegs into square holes. What’s more, as the current demographic in the skilled trades begins to age out, demand for this kind of work, which is already high right now, will only grow. We’re funding this to the tune of $300,000 to help many students find a successful career and great lifestyle, to go out and become very quickly employed in a growing field with room for personal growth and the potential to earn a living wage.  

As a citizen of this community and a donor to PAFE, I have many choices in where I want to give back. There is so much need, but I can only do so much. Because PAFE is so thoughtful about how they make decisions and because I can see the impact. I’m absolutely positive PAFE has done a good job working with families and children, literally, from the day they’re born with our Born to Read program to our READY for Kindergarten program and then READY to Read right on through the 12th grade with teacher grants and now with our residential carpentry program. The decision to be involved is very easy for me.

*This is an estimated number if each grant impacts 30 children on average. Some are much more, and some are less.