Future of public education is topic of lecture

Gerald Zahorchak will be the featured speaker for the next Faculty Lecture Series event at 12:30 p.m. on March 24, in room 135 at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus in Center Valley. Zahorchak, superintendent of The Allentown School District and former Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, will present "Changing Landscape of Education Reform; Re-Authorizing NCLB, Common Core, Race to the Top, and More." This lecture is free and open to the public.

Zahorchak’s career in education includes teaching and leadership experience at both the elementary and secondary education levels. He has served in the North Star, Shanksville-Stonycreek, and finally, Greater Johnstown school districts. In Greater Johnstown, Zahorchak held a series of increasingly responsible roles, ultimately taking the position of district superintendent.

In 2003, Zahorchak was named deputy secretary for elementary and secondary education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In this role, he launched the nationally recognized Project 720 and Classrooms for the Future. These high school reform efforts have been highlighted in publications such as "Education Week" and recognized by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Two years later, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell chose Zahorchak to serve as the state’s secretary of education, a position he held through May 7, 2010. In this role, he was responsible for the education of nearly 2 million school children across the Commonwealth. As Pennsylvania’s Chief State School Officer, he administered more than $9 billion annually to lead and serve the Commonwealth’s educational community. He served as the CEO of the State Board of Education, which sets and directs policy for elementary and secondary education, career and technical education, and postsecondary/higher education for Pennsylvania. Zahorchak was named superintendent of the Allentown School District, effective July 1, 2010.

After graduating with a bachelor of science degree from St. Francis College, Zahorchak earned a master of education degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in 1988. In 1994, he received a doctorate in education administration from the Pennsylvania State University. Zahorchak also earned two honorary doctor of law degrees: one from the University of Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2008; and the other a year later from IUP, an honor that has been bestowed on only 50 others in the university’s history.

For more information, contact University Relations at 610-285-5067 or email aag18@psu.edu.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015