Former Penn Stater and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak will share his wisdom and experiences this Tuesday at 8 p.m. in 102 Thomas in a discussion hosted by the College of Education Student Council. Co-hosted by the Schreyer Honors College and the Presidential Leadership Academy, the event is open to the public.
Zahorchak, who received a doctoral degree in Education Administration from Penn State in 1993, has had a career rooted in education, both at the elementary and secondary level. After serving in various school districts across the state, Zahorchak was named superintendent of the Greater Johnstown school district.
Ten years after graduating Penn State, Zahorchak became the deputy secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It was there that he introduced two landmark initiatives: Project 720 and Classrooms for the Future. The former, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, is a “three-year, $4.7 million voluntary state grant program to create high schools that are student-centered, results-focused, data informed, and personalized in the delivery of services to students.” The latter was another three-year campaign to improve technology within the state’s public school classrooms.
In 2005, Zahorchak was named Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education, a post he held until 2010. Under his guidance, the state’s schools have improved, as demonstrated by the fact that more than three quarters of students now score proficiently in reading and mathematics. In 2002, that figure was hardly more than one half.
“The College of Education Student Council aims to host events that would be interesting to students of all majors within our College, and we are thrilled to be hosting such an accomplished educator and Penn Stater whom students can really learn a lot from,” said Marcy Herr, a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and one of the event’s hosts.