Getting to Know the Broadband Access and Education Coordinator
Kenny Sherin started his role of Broadband Access and Education Coordinator on March 1, 2021. This role is in addition to his current duties as the County Extension Director in Randolph County that he began on September 2, 2019. Kenny grew up on a farm in Union County, NC, where his family grew soybeans and raised beef cattle. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources and a Master’s of Science in Forestry from NC State University, Kenny received a Master’s of Divinity from Campbell University, where he met his wife, Karen, a native of Harnett County. Together, they served a church in Oxford, where he was pastor and Karen was the associate pastor.
From Oxford, NC, Kenny and his family moved west for Kenny to study at the University of Missouri for a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology and Community Development. After graduating, Kenny went to South Dakota, where he became a Community Development Field Specialist with South Dakota State University Extension. He was then promoted to the State Program Director for Community Development with SDSU Extension. After 12 years away from North Carolina, seven in South Dakota, the Sherins were excited to make the transition back to North Carolina to be closer to their parents and family.
Besides his administrative roles in South Dakota and now in Randolph County, Kenny works on a diverse range of community development issues. Workforce development is an issue Kenny is passionate about. He has worked with numerous communities, led workshops, and published articles on the topic. In addition to leading workshops and publishing, Kenny helps facilitate a national ad-hoc group of extension professionals working in workforce development. The group is called the Workforce Development in Extension Workgroup (WDEW).
Another community development issue Kenny works on is broadband. Kenny is part of the National Digital Education Extension Team (NDEET) that operates out of the Southern Rural Development Center. This group works on and advocates for broadband issues on a national level. As part of this team, Kenny helped develop the curriculum for the 4-H Tech Changemakers project with National 4-H Council and Microsoft. In Randolph County, Kenny is leading the effort on the Digital Inclusion BAND-NC project. The initiative is part of the NC State University’s Institute of Emerging Issues and the North Carolina Broadband Office with the goal of having a digital inclusion plan in every North Carolina county.
Kenny is married to Karen and they have two sons, Matthew (17) and Caleb (11). They are enjoying being closer to family in North Carolina and not having to shovel as much snow. The pandemic has messed up their plans to go to the beach upon moving back to North Carolina. Their goal is to make it to the beach to do some surf fishing. Kenny would love to visit County Extension offices along the way, so if he shows up one day, don’t be surprised.
Visit the Broadband Resources page for information and ways to take action on broadband issues.
Adapted from the spotlight in Cultivate NC newsletter August 2020.