Baldwin High School boasts a strong athletic program, one that instills character in students and prepares many for their future careers. When Karen Hjerpe was a student athlete her volleyball team won the WPIAL volleyball championships. Her love of sports led her to a successful career in athletics, serving for five years as the head women's volleyball coach at California University of Pennsylvania and now as Cal U's Athletic Director and Head Compliance Officer.
Dr. Hjerpe enjoys the challenge and variety the position brings. She explains, "No day is ever the same and I think that is probably the most exciting part of the job. While you may have meetings scheduled that you prepare for, we also have 18 intercollegiate sports programs and over 300 student athletes that we must manage on a day-to-day basis. So while you may prepare for what you need to accomplish each day, you may also walk into work and need to address an issue or problem that you didn't account for."
After graduating BHS in '87, she went on to earn her Bachelor's Degree in Accounting/Business from Gannon University in Erie; her Master's Degree in Business Administration from California University of PA, as well as a Master's from California University in Exercise Science—Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention; and a Doctorate in Instructional Management and Leadership from Robert Morris University.
Dr. Hjerpe sees her time at BHS as fundamental to her success. She shares, "High school prepared me for college. The core courses that I had in Math, English, Social Studies, and Sciences allowed me to be successful in college. The teachers that I had truly cared for each individual student and made me accountable in each of my classes. If I needed help, they were there to assist. What you don't realize as a high-school student is that everything you do from ninth grade on in your coursework is paving the foundation for where you will go to school. Some colleges are very competitive and GPA's, weighted GPA's, and SAT/ACT scores are all looked at." She reminds students that they are paving the way for their future with the choices they make today: "My daughter is currently a senior in high school and in that college search process. One college essay asks: 'We have 30,000 students apply, why should we accept you?' We just visited a campus where 42,000 students apply each year. So what you do in high school is your foundation for your college and your future. Embrace it now. Think about where you want to be 5 or 10 years from now and how you will get there."
Dr. Hjerpe lives in the Peters Township area. Her son Todd is a sophomore at Purdue, studying Mechanical Engineering and she has two daughters, Brooke and Erin, in high school.