Penn Wins IDOE Excellence in College Readiness Award & $250,000 | Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation Skip to main content

Penn Wins IDOE Excellence in College Readiness Award & $250,000

Excellence in College Readiness Award

Tonight (Friday, September 8, 2023) in Indianapolis at the Indiana Department of Education’s (IDOE) second annual Educational Excellence Awards Gala, Penn High School received the Excellence in College Readiness Award along with a $250,000 grant!


The Excellence in College Readiness Award as described by the IDOE is as follows:
This award recognizes an individual school that has demonstrated a commitment to helping students earn a credential of value before graduating high school. One or more of the following must be demonstrated by the award recipient: completion of high-value postsecondary credentials for graduating seniors, implementation of strategies that support students reaching their highest potential on ACT and SAT examinations, and expansion of scholarship opportunities for students entering into a higher education institution upon graduating.


For back-to-back school years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, Penn High School has been the top Indiana high school with the highest number of students earning ICC (Indiana College Core) or AGS (Associate of General Studies) certificates earned! Click to read more of Penn High School’s state and national recognition.


Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker and Penn administrators Principal Dr. Sean Galiher, Associate Principal Rachel Fry, Assistant Principals Josiah Parker and Jeanie Mitchell were on hand to receive the award. Other P-H-M honorees recognized at this evening's Gala included:

 Excellence in College Readiness Award
Left to Right: Rachel Fry, Eric Bowers, Dr. Sean Galiher, Josiah Parker, Jeanie Mitchell, & Dr. Jerry Thacker


Indiana History Teacher of the Year
Indiana History Teacher of the Year Eric Bowers and Dr. Sean Galiher


Indiana Top 10 TOY Finalist
Dr. Jerry Thacker and Amanda Fox, 2022 Top 10 Finalist for Indiana Teacher of the Year


Excellence Gala
Left to Right: Eric Bowers, Dr. Jerry Thacker, Dr. Sean Galiher, Rachel Fry,  Josiah Parker, Jeanie Mitchell, & Ryan Towner


This is the second year in a row P-H-M has been honored at the IDOE Educational Excellence Awards Gala. At the inaugural event September 2022, Towner and Fox were honored. Fox for being Indiana’s Finalist for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Towner for being last year’s Milken Educator.


At this year’s Educational Excellence Awards Gala, the IDOE awarded nearly $5 million to schools and educators across the state! The black-tie event focused on celebrating and elevating the work of Indiana’s educators as they support student learning.


“The heart of the Educational Excellence Awards Gala is focused on the impact of our educators and schools. We know that we have continuous improvements to make for our students…and we also know that we have shining examples of success existing across our state,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education.


“Our goal was to host a red carpet event to celebrate our very best educators, on a level similar to how we celebrate movie stars and professional athletes, because their incredible impact deserves to be celebrated at the grandest level we can,” Dr. Jenner continued her praise of Indiana’s teachers. “Many of the educators tonight have positively impacted hundreds of students over the years and are leaders in their local communities. So, bringing them together for an awards night to roll out the red carpet and provide surprise monetary awards is one small way we can spotlight the massive impact they continue to make on our state.”


Click to read the IDOE’s full news release on the 2023 Educational Excellence Awards Gala.