Schmucker E.A. is 2024 P-H-M Employee of the Year | Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation Skip to main content

Schmucker E.A. is 2024 P-H-M Employee of the Year

Dr. Thacker surprises Brenda Speedy with news she's PHM's Employee of the Year


P-H-M Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker had one more surprise appearance to make this week. This time it was at Schmucker Middle School to let Educational Assistant Brenda Speedy know that she is P-H-M’s 2024 Classified Employee of the Year. Principal Sarah Smith, Asst. Principal Cam Brundage, Math teachers Tony Kruppa and Kris (L.A.) High all worked to get Mrs. Speedy out of the classroom so that Dr. Thacker, TV cameras, and P-H-M Administrators could get into position in her classroom to surprise her; and it worked! Mrs. Speedy had one of her students, Braylen, with her when she walked back into the classroom. He was very happy for her. Click to watch the video below.


Click to see the full photo gallery below.


Now in her 17th year with P-H-M, all at Schmucker as an E.A. P-H-M practices the inclusion education model where Exceptional Education and General Education students are co-educated in the same classroom. Brenda Speedy co-teaches in math classes utilizing her strong content knowledge of middle school math. The support Brenda lends in the classroom benefits all the students and the teachers.


Brenda is well respected and beloved, “The students love her and always ask where she is on the rare occasion she misses work,” says 8th grade Schmucker Math Teacher Tony Kruppa who nominated Brenda for this honor. “We couldn't do our jobs as teachers without our EA's and in my opinion there are none better than Mrs. Speedy.”


“She pours everything she has into each day and always pushes our students to be their best. Working with her the past few years has made me a better educator,” says Kruppa.


It can be said that Brenda works magic with students; she is able to find a connection and relate to them. She naturally forms bonds, “Mrs. Speedy works with one student in particular and she has done so much for him this year. This student in nonverbal, but the excitement on his face when he sees her is priceless. They joke with each other and even play a few pranks on me. I have enjoyed watching the bond she's made with the student and how she has helped his personality develop and shine. This is just one instance of Brenda helping the ‘whole’ student be successful and prepared for life beyond the walls of our school. She does things like this every day,” says Kruppa.


Brenda loves her job as an educator, “Watching students’ confidence and independence grow is the most satisfying experience. I am lucky to have worked with some of the most amazing teachers here at Schmucker. They are truly incredible. I appreciate all their support.”


The week of May 6 was National Teacher Appreciation week. Along with surprising the Employee of the Year winner, Dr. Thacker also surprised the 2024 Teachers of the Year winners. Third grade Northpoint Teacher Nichol Mondy was named Elementary TOY; and Penn High School English, Debate, and Communications Teacher Jeremy Starkweather was named Secondary TOY. All winners will be officially recognized at P-H-M’s Employee Recognition & Retiree Dinner on Wednesday, May 22nd. Along with a plaque, the Employee of the Year will receive a gift certificate. The two Teachers of the Year will also receive plaques and classroom grants from the P-H-M Education Foundation. Both TOY winners will go on to compete for Indiana’s Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in early Fall 2024 by the IDOE.