Penn State education alumni head some of 'America's Best High Schools'

May 15, 2008

University Park, Pa. — Alumni of Penn State’s Educational Leadership (EDLDR) program in the College of Education are making a positive impact in the educational quality of a number of secondary schools across Pennsylvania, as evidenced by new rankings of American high schools.

Twenty-four EDLDR alumni currently serve or recently served as either district superintendent or school principal at fifteen Pennsylvania schools that were recognized as being among "America’s Best High Schools," in rankings released by U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News used methodology from School Evaluation Services, an educational research business operated by Standard & Poor’s. Schools were judged on three main criteria: student performance on state tests, performance of disadvantaged students, and the availability of college-level course work. The magazine considered more than 18,000 public high schools from 40 states.

The  top 100 schools in the nation earned gold medal status, while 405 received silver medals and 1,086 earned bronze. A total of 55 Pennsylvania high schools were honored across the three medal categories.

“That our EDLDR graduates work in more than 25% of these schools across the state suggests that our Penn State programs that prepare principals and superintendents are indeed living up to the university’s mission and commitment to serve Pennsylvania schools and students,” remarked Dan Marshall, professor-in-charge of Penn State’s EDLDR program.

Among the gold medal winners was Conestoga Senior High School in Berwyn, Pa., where Tim Donovan (secondary principal certification, 1999) serves as principal. Conestoga was ranked as the 79th best high school in the nation.

”We are very pleased that so many Pennsylvania schools received these honors and are especially proud of our graduates who have led their schools and districts so successfully,” said William T. Hartman, professor of educational leadership. “It strengthens our belief in the value of our EDLDR program in imparting the skills and attitudes necessary for school leaders today.”

Penn State is one of some 43 universities in Pennsylvania that offer advanced degrees in educational leadership. The Penn State program is ranked fourth nationally in the category of Administration/Supervision in another recent U.S. News & World Report listing—America’s Best Graduate Schools.

Pennsylvania High Schools Listed Among America’s Best High Schools, by Category

(school name, city, county, EDLDR alumnus, and position)


Conestoga Senior High School
Berwyn (Chester County)
Tim Donovan, principal;
Amy Meisinger, assistant principal


Hershey High School
Hershey (Dauphin County)
Linda Brewer, superintendent

Lower Merion High School
Ardmore (Montgomery County)
David Piperato, principal

Loyalsock Township Senior High School
Williamsport (Lycoming County)
Rich Mextorf, superintendent;
Allen DiMarco, principal;
Matt Reitz, assistant principal

State College Area High School
State College (Centre County)
Patricia Best, superintendent;
Craig Butler, principal;
Deb Latta, principal;
Marsha Kramer, associate principal;
Curtis Johnson, assistant principal

Wyomissing Area Jr./Sr. High School
Wyomissing (Berks County)
William E. Hartman, principal


Bucktail Area Jr./Sr. High School
Renovo (Clinton County)
Don Wills, superintendent;
Kurt Smith, principal

Elkland Area High School
Elkland (Tioga County)
Dave Wisard, principal

Harmony Area High School
Westover (Clearfield County)
Scott King, principal

Harriton Senior High School
Rosemont (Montgomery County)
Steve Kline, principal

Hyndman Middle School/Senior High School
Hyndman (Bedford County)
Glenn Thompson, superintendent

Northwestern Senior High School
Albion (Erie County)
Pat Kelley, superintendent

Ridgway Area High School
Ridgway (Elk County)
Tom Butler, superintendent

Salisbury-Elk Lick Jr./Sr. High School
Salisbury (Somerset County)
Eugene Wengerd, principal

Tyrone Area High School
Tyrone (Blair County)
William Miller, superintendent;
Tom Yoder, principal

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009