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2017 Employee Recognition Night

2017 Employee Recognition Night

P-H-M’s 26th Annual Employee Recognition Dinner was held on Wednesday, May 17 honoring the District’s Teacher of the Year, Employee of the Year, and retirees. Service Awards were also given to employees who have dedicated 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 40 and 45 years of service to Penn-Harris-Madison (Click here for a full list of this year’s Service Award employees). The dinner was generously sponsored by Teachers Credit Union. Click here to view the photo gallery below for pictures from this year’s memorable evening.


As part of Teacher of the Year Penn Orchestra Director Anne Tschetter’s recognition, she received a $1,000 grant from the P-H-M Education Foundation to use in her classroom. In her first year at Penn as Orchestra Director, Mrs. Tschetter served in that role at Discovery Middle School for 20 years prior to moving to the high school. Mrs. Tschetter, a practicing violinist and violist herself, often plays alongside her students, demonstrating and modeling the techniques she’s teaching her students. These are just one of the many reasons why she’s her colleagues and students say she’s such a great teacher. Click to watch the video below to hear more reasons why ...



Meadow’s Edge Teacher’s Aide Classified Employee of the Year Shari Cerney has worked for P-H-M for 21 years, starting as an instructional aide at Elm Road after being recruited by her daughter’s teacher. Teachers and other building co-workers say Mrs. Cerney has a positive work ethic that’s contagious and her love for education permeates everything she does. Click to watch the video below to hear more reasons why she was chosen as Classified Employee of the Year ...



This year 26 longtime employees retired from P-H-M:

  • Diane Baker, Bus Operator                      
  • Ronda Baldwin, Teacher                                                               
  • Linda Beck-Jellum, ESP      
  • Patti Blume, Bus Operator                    
  • Merilee Britt, Teacher                               
  • Sue Campbell, ESP (click to read reflection)                                          
  • Steve Ciszczon, Teacher (click to read reflection)                                         
  • Dale Clark, Bus Operator                    
  • Karen Czarkowski, ESP (click to read reflection)                                    
  • David Dutton, Teacher (click to read reflection)                               
  • Cindy Glon, ESP                                        
  • Mary Lou Harmon, Speech Pathologist (click to read reflection)
  • Robert Heeter, Bus Operator                    
  • Karenmarie Krouse, Bus Operator
  • Tamara Lewis, Teacher (click to read reflection)
  • Rebecca Lutkus, Teacher
  • John Miller, Custodian
  • Joyce Miller, ESP (click to read reflection)
  • Dave Misener, Teacher (click to read reflection)
  • Lou Ann Moore, Custodian
  • Sue Nye, ESP (click to read reflection)
  • Nancy Overman, Teacher (click to read reflection)
  • Jill Spencer, Administrator (click to read reflection)
  • Patti Stanz, ESP
  • Donald Toler, Custodian
  • David Wallace, Educational Assistant (click to read reflection)

Retirement Reflections

  • What is your favorite memory or what did you like most about working at P-H-M?
  • What words of advice would you give to your fellow colleagues?
  • What new adventure awaits for you in retirement?

Sue Campbell


15 Years of Service


The things I liked best about my job were interacting with all our Penn High School students and working side by side with my student assistants and interns. I still hear from many former students and it’s fun to follow their lives and see how they have succeeded! I have so many fond memories of Guidance that it’s hard to pick just one, but one that really sticks out is the year our Halloween theme was “The Pirates of Guidance” and Mr. Hope (the head of Guidance at the time) made and wore the most awesome pirate costume ever, which included a stuffed parrot attached to his shoulder.


To my colleagues, especially the younger ones, I would like to say that working with teenagers either keeps you young or makes you feel really old. Which one happens to you totally depends on your attitude. My advice is choose to stay young, it’s a lot more fun! My next adventure in life will include lots of traveling with my husband and friends, spending lots more time with my children and grandchildren, and generally enjoying life! Thanks to all who shared my 15 ½ year journey working at Penn and the previous 17 years I spent volunteering there. Go Penn!  

Steve Ciszczon
23 Years of Service


One of my fondest memories is when I was the athletic trainer at Penn. After a home game on a crisp autumn evening, when all the post- game work was done, I greatly enjoyed sitting in the office of the athletic training room with my feet propped up on the desk, watching television and getting the latest scores and highlights from the other games in the area … a great way to unwind and relax! 

The fall games, with the full moon and crisp weather were great memories, especially when the Kingsmen won!


In reflection, we are so driven by the curriculum and content that I think we forget about life. Ask yourself if the kids learned the material, or did they just study for the assessment? Will they remember and apply everything or anything, later in life? We need to incorporate more life skills and life lessons into our classes.  I think in most classes this can be integrated into the curriculum. 

Words of advice I would give to my fellow colleagues … Treat all students with respect, but be the adult in the room. Be their teacher, not their pal.

Karen Czarkowski

Attendance Aide

20.5 Years of Service


As I retire from a work family that for 21 years has served as a unique home of daily encouragement, humor and camaraderie, I look forward to leisurely awakening to snowy, cold winter days instead of getting up at 5:00 a.m.; spending more time with my husband at home; enjoying my mother and grandkids; and planning trips to places I have wanted to see.


The encouragement at Penn has amazed me. During my first month working, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and with the care and support of my colleagues, not only did I survive the struggle and chemotherapy, but I also never missed a day of work. Clearly this achievement is one of my proudest moments.


Beyond health concerns, my experiences with my bosses will remain fond memories. I found my first bosses, assistant principals Rhonda Jackson and Christine Banaszak, two of the nicest women for whom I would work rather than the iron-fisted women I anticipated.  Later on my funniest boss, Mrs. Schalliol, would add humor to my workday, turning some very frustrating situations into rays of sunshine by doing or saying something hilarious.


Special comrades are my lunch bunch, who would identify and stop outrageous conversations by saying the word bananas. That word alone had the power to make us change the subject. I will miss my lunch mates and our close workday friendships.


Those around me may miss my chocolate, three different kinds in three different jars on my desk to save the day for any at their wits’ end. Chocolate remains my go-to recommendation though I think I’ll need it less as I transition to a life of doing what I want when I choose.  While working here has been an amazing experience, more amazement is to come.

David Dutton


20 Years of Service


My favorite memories would be working with Keith Rudolph and Brent Holaway to build and sustain the Penn Musical Theater Program. Additionally, working with Dawn Troyer to build and sustain the Penn Debate Program.


Traveling and spending time with my children and grandchildren will occupy my time in retirement.

Mary Lou Harmon

Speech Pathologist

15 Years of Service


My favorite memory of working at P-H-M is watching a student, with a communication disorder, finally recognize and produce correct sounds after repetitive practice and effort, and then hearing from his classroom teacher that he is transitioning the sound into his reading skills, then receiving a note from the parents that he was able to be understood at home and read a birthday card to his grandmother at her party. That’s what makes my day!


My words of advice to colleagues are to always explore new strategies and consultation from others when you have reached a point of uncertainty on how to proceed.


My “new adventures” in retirement will be beginning another chapter, including travel within the USA and abroad as well as trying out a few more cruises, maybe even to Alaska. I especially want to spend time with my husband and family, visit friends and perhaps continue to provide some teaching or clinical supervision in speech language pathology to college students. I know I will volunteer in the community for agencies serving children or the elderly. I want to have some fun, maybe learn something new and perhaps move to a warmer climate. 

Tamara Lewis

ENL Teacher

28 Years of Service


I have so many memories connected with P-H-M that it is hard to say which one is my favorite. Do I draw from my time as a student at Elsie, Kennedy, Schmucker and Penn? Do I focus on my years teaching computer applications, science or ENL? I have a total of 40 years invested in P-H-M between being a student and being a teacher! The memory I choose to carry with me is the memory of the support and commitment of the teachers and administration at Schmucker and Discovery. I will miss my second family!


My parents each gave me advice growing up.  My mother often told me not to let the books get in the way of my education. My father told me that a teacher's summer was the time to practice for retirement if one can. To those still teaching, I pass along their wisdom! Remember that education is more than just the standards and the curriculum. Try to get some joy and excitement in there between the never-ending tests! And when summer comes, if at all possible, sit and listen to the birds, watch the clouds, or enjoy doing nothing (and resting afterward!)


As I leave, it will be the first time in Schmucker's existence that a member of my family is not teaching within its walls. My father, Byron Boyer, helped open the building. His last year at Schmucker was my first. I hope the building remains standing, and our contributions continue to have a positive effect on students for another 40+ years!

Joyce Miller
23 Years of Service


I was employed by P-H-M for 23 years at Mary Frank. It was a great opportunity for me to work and meet a lot of great people there. I enjoyed my job there because I loved helping parents with their questions that they might have about their children.

I would like to say if you are working in a school corporation of any kind, you need to stay positive for all of the children, because we are there to help the children in any way that we can.

After retirement I hope to do some traveling in the winter months and spend more time with my grandchildren.

Dave Misener


41 Years of Service


My favorite memory is having my sixth grade teacher as the School Board President.

All teachers need to be politically active on a state level. Teachers need to educate legislators about how the school corporation and kids are and will be affected by what they do.


Retirement brings a lot of new opportunities and I hope to explore them all. 

Click to read about when Dave was recognized by the P-H-M Board of School Trustees.

Sue Nye

Office Aide

26 Years of Service


I have enjoyed my 26 years working for P-H-M Schools. My first six years were at Prairie Vista as a Teacher Aide. For the last 20 years, I’ve worked at Discovery Middle School in the Main Office. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the many parents and students that came into the office as I was usually the first face they would see. I got to know some parents well enough that when they phoned their first name was all I needed to know who was calling. I also checked in students arriving late or leaving early and was always interested in hearing about their day or weekend.

My advice to make the most of each work day would be to start the day with a positive attitude. Sometimes it’s hard when there is so much negativity around you, but sometimes when you are positive that can change other people’s disposition. It’s amazing how quickly the years will fly by when you enjoy your job and have a positive attitude.

I am looking forward to spending more time with family. I hope to see my grandkids more and attend some of their school activities. I also will spend more time at our cottage and travel at any time of the year instead of just school recess days.

Nancy Overman
Exceptional Education
22 Years of Service


During the winter of 1995, a special education teacher at SMS was in an accident. I was assigned here and never left. Mr. Borland hired me permanently in the fall of 1995. I love being part of Schmucker, except for all the IEP paperwork! Having left bookkeeping because of paperwork, the joke was on me. The teams of people I've worked with made it worthwhile. The loss of teaming was tragic, but the relationships made the difference for me and the students on my caseload. They have been wonderful to work with. I'll miss my fellow teachers the most, especially those that I've spent classroom time with and my special education cohorts. My advice, go to lunch with your peers and visit before and after school. Keep communicating and enjoying their company.

Upon retirement, I'll keep antiquing. Now, I plan to sell more and buy less (we'll see how that works out). I'll have fun with my family, especially my three wonderful granddaughters. My husband, Ken, and I will spend more time treasure hunting and floating down the Saint Joe River. I'll wave up at SMS, as I float on by.

Jill Spencer
18 Years of Service


I especially enjoyed the challenges and rewards of working in a variety of settings in the course of my P-H-M career (a year at Penn High, a year at Meadow's Edge Elementary, and almost 18 years at the ESC, along with hundreds of building visits). It was always my pleasure to look out from the ESC windows and see students going in and out of the neighboring schools, student-athletes on practice and playing fields in all directions, and marching band members drilling and drumming in the parking lots. From my vantage point, I came to admire principals as perhaps the most dedicated and hardest working group of professionals in the district. It was a privilege to work with the principals, and I enjoyed getting to know many of them over the years.


Advice? Never overlook or devalue your contributions to the success of this district. The good work of "the many" dutifully delivered every day is the "magic sauce!”


I have enjoyed four months of unfettered time since my January retirement. I travel to Cincinnati at least once a month to play with my grandson, and my husband J.R. and I usually set out on a Midwest foray to an historical site or special restaurant each week as well. We are finding that there is much to see and do within four hours of home!  

David Wallace
Educational Assistant
4 Years of Service


When I got recognition for being a Vietnam Veteran at Bittersweet Elementary, also on my birthday on May 10th.


Spend more time with my grandbabies (all five of ours is seven at this time, as of May 17th).

Also by May 17th, I will have had back surgery to restore my walking ability and help make me physically strong enough so I can enjoy a mini vacation with my wife and grandbabies. I’m looking forward to working with kids in a future venue, one-on-one and developing a “trust” with kids so that any questions they may ask, even if I don’t know the answer that day, I will research and find the answer and have it for them the next day. I want them to know they CAN count on me, they are important and they matter.