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Sixteen Pennsylvania Principals Recognized by the PA Department of Education and the National Institute for School Leadership


Harrisburg, PA - Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) recognized 16 principals from around state during a ceremony at the Capitol Are Intermediate Unit (CAIU) today.

The elite group pf principals were awarded Distinguished Principal status. The designation follows the principals’ successful completion of NISL's rigorous evaluation process, which is administered by a team of school leadership experts.

“Today’s honorees are among the first in the country to receive the prestigious Distinguished Principal designation,” Education Executive Deputy Secretary David W. Volkman said. “This a tremendous accomplishment for these principals, their schools and districts, and the commonwealth.”

The Pennsylvania recipients are among the fewer than 50 principals from three states being awarded the designation. Pennsylvania’s Distinguished Principals are:

· Adam Schmucker, Quakertown Community School District

· Camile Hopkins, School District of Lancaster

· Corbett Babb, Wyomissing Area School District

· Carolyn Fugate, Oswayo Valley School District

· Cynthia Zajac, Harbor Creek School District

· Donna Rose, Harbor Creek School District

· Edward Gnall, Lower Dauphin School District

· Michael Elia, Abington Heights School District

· John Kurelja, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (IU16)

· Jesse Rawls, Central Dauphin School District

· Kurt Widmann, Chambersburg Area School District

· Matthew Meakin, Littlestown Area School District

· Melissa Cashdollar, Chambersburg Area School District

· Robert Rizzo, Indiana Area School District

· Sarah Herbert, Chambersburg Area School District

· Wade McElheny, Indiana Area School District

“These educators understand that professional development does not wane when you graduate from the classroom to the front office,” Volkman said. “These designees are leaders in our profession and serve as strong examples in their school communities and for educators throughout Pennsylvania.”

Districts and Departments of Education in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Mississippi are partnering with NISL to launch the first-ever national advanced credentialing system for school principals. Funded by a U.S. Department of Education Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Grant, the initiative aims at keeping the most talented principals in the field. Advanced credentials empower principals with the ability to train and coach early-career colleagues, strengthening school leadership across entire districts and states and bolstering the future pool of school leaders.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman - 717-783-9802

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