Q&A: Commissioner Penserga

Teacher by day, city commissioner everyday.

Penserga+teaches+MYP+chemistry+to+his+fifth+period+class+while+also+managing+a+political+campaign+for+mayor.+

Jad Dargam

Penserga teaches MYP chemistry to his fifth period class while also managing a political campaign for mayor.

Jad Dargam, Website Manager

When the bell rings, students enter room 3-305 expecting a normal day, ready to learn. Ty Penserga teaches his classes about a multitude of chemistry-filled topics. Most students do not bother to think about what happens beyond the classroom, but Penserga, who is also the Chair of the Suncoast School Advisory Council, has an unconventional life that most students are not aware of. Penserga is a city commissioner of Boynton Beach, Florida. And now this year, Penserga has announced his run for office of the mayor, with the election coming up in March 2022. 

What does a city commissioner do?

“As a City Commissioner, my role is to develop, deliberate, and decide on critical policies that impact the daily lives of our residents and of the city as a whole. We set the mission, the vision, and the multitude of strategic initiatives that range from safety and security, economic growth and quality of life, from roads to garbage, to ensuring clean water and beautiful parks, to combating climate change and even hunger. City government — often underlooked — is one of the most powerful and direct ways to impact communities and improve the lives of your neighbors. As the saying goes: think globally, act locally.”

What are the next steps in your political career? 

“There’s no guarantee that I’ll win this election and become mayor. But I am willing to try because the mission is far more important than me or even the fear of losing. But should I have the honor of becoming mayor, it is my hope to continue serving in the classroom. I love teaching and the Suncoast community is phenomenal, and quite frankly, the envy of the county. I will have to make additional sacrifices, but because Suncoast holds a very special place in my heart, my plan is to find a way to do both.”

How do you balance working as a teacher and working as a commissioner currently? 

“As I always tell my students, staying organized is more than half of the battle. Organization allows you to expand your mental bandwidth and ultimately, handle more on your plate. Whether it’s staying organized with your schedule by having a calendar, keeping a planner, or keeping great notes where everything is labeled and grouped — it just makes everything else easier. I also surround myself with good people, whether it’s personal friends or staff, they help me stay grounded and focused. And because of all of that, when I’m finished teaching, I can quickly shift my attention to city business.”

Why did you become a teacher?

“This one is easy. I had some truly phenomenal teachers while I was at Suncoast. I will never forget them and the impact they made on me, and it’s because of them that I want to pay it forward…they encouraged me to ask deeper questions that challenged not just what I knew but also how I thought, to Ms. Wetterstrand and Mr. Slattery who taught me the love and excitement of programming, and Ms. Patterson (now Mrs. Newcomer) who never gave up on me and spent countless hours with me after school. She doesn’t know this but because of her and of the calculus textbook she gave me, I had one of the most important “ah-ha” moments in my life.”