Dr. Gerald L. Zahorchak to Receive PA Principals Association’s 2005 Educational Excellence Award

(Harrisburg, PA) — Dr. Gerald L. Zahorchak, Acting Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has been selected to receive the prestigious Educational Excellence Award for 2005 from the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PA Principals Association). The award, given annually, recognizes a Pennsylvanian who has made significant contributions to public education and who continues to demonstrate a sincere commitment to quality education for all the children of the Commonwealth. Dr. Zahorchak will be presented with the award in a special ceremony during the banquet at PA Principals Association’s thirteenth annual state conference, Monday, October 24, 2005, at the Valley Forge Radisson / Scanticon Hotel & Convention Center, King of Prussia, Pa.


Dr. Zahorchak’s commitment to the education of Pennsylvania’s students has guided him to numerous leadership roles. He was instrumental in the release of Pennsylvania’s first and now ongoing Academic Achievement Reports. He has led PDE’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s development and implementation of support systems for public schools working to meet the high demands of the Pennsylvania and NCLB accountability targets.

Dr. Zahorchak is the former superintendent of the Greater Johnstown School District where he helped to raise student achievement levels, and lead all schools in meeting Adequate Yearly Progress. Under his leadership, the Greater Johnstown School District implemented full-day kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, tutoring programs and hired reading and math coaches to boost student learning.

As an educator, he has been a teacher, football coach, principal and superintendent of schools. He serves on many state and national committees working to improve student achievement and is also a devoted member of the Johnstown community. Among his numerous awards are the “Distinguished Alumnus in Education” President’s Award from St. Francis University, 2004; the Pennsylvania League of Urban School Leadership Award; and the 2005 Pennsylvania Association of Federal Programs Distinguished Educator Award.

PA Principals Association’s Mission: The Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals is dedicated to assuring that every Pennsylvania child receives the very best education possible. In carrying out this mission, the association recognizes that the early elementary years are most crucial to successful lifelong learning, that appropriate middle level programs are essential for successful adolescent maturation and development and that strong high school programs are critical for preparing youth for successful entry and transition into adulthood.

PA Principals Association recognizes an obligation to make continuing contributions toward strengthening the principalship and the profession. The association is committed to providing critical professional growth opportunities through training programs, opportunities for constructive professional mentoring and relationships, publications, conferences and professional meetings and activities aimed at helping aspiring principals in reaching their goals and practicing principals to hone their skills.