Pequea bus driver featured in WITF video series ‘Brighter Days’

Pequea Elementary School bus driver Roxy Carrigan is featured in a new video series produced by WITF that showcases outstanding employees at local schools.

Called “Brighter Days,” the series focuses on the positive impact staff members have on students. The three- to five-minute videos focus on the programs and relationships that make students, educators, and community members feel seen, understood, and inspired.

Roxy is interviewed, along with Desiree Forbes, the parent of Gram, one the special needs students Roxy transports.

“She is incredible,” Desiree says. “I honestly don’t think I could ask for anybody better to drive Gram to school.”

Roxy has been driving special needs students for Penn Manor for 23 years. Each day, she tries to make her young passengers feel confident and comfortable by treating them like her own grandchildren.

“They give me confidence, and I give them confidence,” she says in the video, one of eight produced for the series by WITF in partnership with Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13.

You can watch it here.

Congratulations to Roxy, and many thanks to WITF and IU 13 for shining a spotlight on these outstanding employees.

School board appoints Anthony Lombardo to fill open seat     

The Penn Manor Board of School Directors has approved the appointment of Anthony Lombardo to fill a vacant seat on the board.

Board members voted unanimously September 19 to appoint Lombardo, who will serve until December 2023. His first meeting will be on October 3.

A detective with the Manheim Township Police Department since 2007, Lombardo also served as a K-9 officer and detective with the Lancaster County Drug Task Force from 2008 until 2020.

Lombardo is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as an infantry section leader with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines from 2004 to 2005 and as corporal of the guard for the Marine Corps Security Force Company NSB in Bangor, Washington, from 2002 to 2004.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Columbia Southern University in 2022 and completed his Police Academy training at Harrisburg Area Community College in 2007.

Lombardo and his wife, Lindsey, live in Pequea. They have two children attending Penn Manor schools, Mason, 16, and Hunter, 13, and a three-year-old son, Sawyer.

Photo of Anthony Lombardo
Anthony Lombardo

Penn Manor to host Multilingual Family Night September 21

Penn Manor will hold a Multilingual Family Night on Wednesday, September 21, to assist families whose primary home language is not English.

The event will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at Manor Middle School, 2950 Charlestown Road, Lancaster.

A team of teachers, translators and social workers will share information about bus rules, attendance and other policies, immunization requirements and other topics. Parents also will have an opportunity to create a parent portal account for Sapphire and complete applications for the school lunch program.

Light refreshments and child care will be provided.

The event is free and open to all parents who have a student on Penn Manor’s Primary Home Language Other Than English (PHLOTE) list.

All Penn Manor schools to offer free breakfasts beginning October 3

Beginning Monday, October 3, all Penn Manor students will be eligible for free breakfasts under a state-funded Universal Free Breakfast initiative that will continue through the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

This program does not include free lunches, and families are still encouraged to apply for free and reduced-price meal benefits to qualify for assistance.

You can learn more about the application process here

By submitting an application, your child’s school may receive additional funding to improve nutrition and education programs. Applying for free and reduced-price meals also can help families with fees for SAT and PSAT tests, college applications, advanced-placement exams and other expenses that may come up during a child’s high school career. Qualifying for free and reduced-price meals also means your family may qualify for additional NSLP benefits, such as a low-cost internet service from Comcast.

Penn Manor families encouraged to sign up for Power Packs food program

Penn Manor residents can begin receiving free food and recipes through the Power Packs program for 2022-2023 beginning September 21.

Power Packs provides families with a recipe and the main ingredients to make one weekend meal; eight or nine grocery items, including protein and fresh produce; milk every two to three weeks; and tips for healthy living.

Penn Manor residents can sign up by completing an online application here.

Power Packs food will be distributed every Wednesday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Loft Community Partnership, located behind St. Paul Lutheran Church, 222 N. George St., Millersville. The first distribution will be on September 21.

For questions about the program, please contact Joy Meley, Penn Manor School Social Worker/Home and School Visitor at (717) 201-9934, (717) 872-9503 ext. 3748, or at joyce.meley@pennmanor.net

Four Penn Manor HS seniors earn College Board national recognition

Four Penn Manor High School seniors have been honored with national recognition awards from the College Board.

Blessing Mmugambi and Gertrude Moenga received National African American Recognition Awards; Maximillian Ponton received a National Hispanic Recognition Award; and Wyatt Rohrer received a National Indigenous Recognition Award.

They are among 62,000 students from across the United States who earned the academic honors, which are designed to help improve college admissions among underrepresented student populations.

To be eligible, students must have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher and excel in the PSAT/NMSQT test or earn a score of 3 or higher on two or more advanced placement exams. The College Board administers the PSAT, SAT and AP tests.

The National Recognition Awards can help students stand out in the college admissions and scholarship application process. Students can apply for the awards in their junior or sophomore years.

Blessing is the daughter of Mercy and Musa Mmugambi of Willow Street. She plans to continue her education by majoring in accounting or finance in college.

Max is the son of Jackeline and Joseph Ponton of Millersville. He plans to study theatre arts in college.

Gertrude is the daughter of Jane and Evan Moenga of Manor Township. She plans to major in psychology in college.

Wyatt is the son of Mary and Doug Rohrer of Manor Township. He plans to major in finance in college.

Congratulations to these four students!

From left, Wyatt Rohrer, Gertrude Moenga, Blessing Mmugambi and Maximillian Ponton.

Penn Manor’s 2022-2023 school year gets off to a smooth start

More than 5,400 students returned to the classrooms on August 29 as Penn Manor kicked off its 2022-2023 school year.

This year’s opening day was the first for Dr. Phil Gale in his new role as superintendent. Dr. Gale was named superintendent effective July 1 after serving as assistant superintendent since 2019 and as Penn Manor High School principal for 10 years.

Several other key administrators also are new this year. Dr. Krista Cox is the new assistant superintendent for secondary education, and Pat Tocci is Penn Manor’s new athletic director.

Eshleman Elementary has a new principal, Dr. Melissa Mealy, and Kelli Eachus will join the Hambright staff as assistant principal later this fall. Jenna Fisher is a new assistant high school principal, and Dorina Andes is Penn Manor’s new supervisor of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

In addition, Penn Manor has more than 40 new professional staff members for 2022-2023 and a new school resource officer, Jason Turner, who replaced longtime Penn Manor SRO Jason Hottenstein over the summer.

At the high school, students returned to a renovated cafeteria, a new kitchen, auxiliary gym, weight room and fitness center and new parking lots. In addition, 1,500 new laptops are being distributed to students this fall.

Dr. Gale visited several schools throughout the district on opening day and said things went smoothly.

“The first day of school is an exciting time, and today was a demonstration of the hard work that all district employees have put forth in preparing for the new year,” he said. “I look forward to seeing all the good things that transpire throughout the school year.”

Welcome back, students and staff, and best wishes on a new school year!

  • Photo of students entering Penn Manor High School
    Penn Manor High School

Hundreds turn out to show Penn Manor pride at Kickoff Classic at Comet Field

Hundreds of Penn Manor fans turned out August 24 to cheer on members of the Comets fall sports teams, marching unit and cheer squads during the 2022 Kickoff Classic at Comet Field.

This year’s event marked the debut of Penn Manor’s new athletic director, Pat Tocci, and superintendent, Dr. Phil Gale.

The Penn Manor Marching Unit and cheerleaders warmed up the crowd before the introduction of athletic team coaches and members. Penn Manor varsity fall sports include field hockey, football, girls’ and boys’ cross country, girls’ volleyball, girls’ and boys’ soccer, coed golf, girls’ tennis and cheerleading.

New coaches this year include William Zapata (girls’ soccer) and Andrea Kramer (cross country).

Also at the event, 2022 Penn Manor graduate Emily Riggs, who played second base for the L-L League championship girls’ softball team, was honored with the Girls’ Softball 6A Player of the Year Award.

Prior to the team introductions, food trucks from several local restaurants and vendors sold food to attendees.

Online schedules and updates for all sports teams are available here on the Penn Manor Athletics website.

Many thanks to the fans who came out to support our student athletes, musicians and cheerleaders. Let’s go Comets!

  • Photo of athletic director Pat Tocci

All Penn Manor cafeterias will be in operation for first day of school on August 29

All Penn Manor School District cafeterias will be in operation for the first day of school on Monday, August 29. You can find the menus for August and September here.

We encourage all families to sign up for free and reduced-price meals for the 2022-2023 school year. The waiver that provided free meals to all students for the past two years has expired, and eligibility is now determined by household income. You can learn more here.

Penn Manor School Board seeking to fill board vacancy

The Penn Manor Board of School Directors is seeking applicants for a vacancy on the Board of School Directors. The open term will expire the first week of December 2023.  

Eligible candidates who wish to be considered must email a resume to school board secretary Cindy Rhoades at cindy.rhoades@pennmanor.net and complete an online application by 4:00 P.M. Friday, August 26.  The online application can be found at this link

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, have lived in the district for at least one year, and must have no record of conviction for any felony offense or any misdemeanor offense involving dishonesty or moral turpitude.

The Penn Manor Board of School Directors must fill the vacancy within 30 days.

Penn Manor welcomes back staff for 2022-2023 Opening Day

Penn Manor welcomed more than 400 teachers and support staff back for the 2022-2023 school year on August 22 as it hosted Staff Opening Day activities at Penn Manor High School. 

In a morning session in the auditorium, Penn Manor superintendent Dr. Phil Gale greeted staff members, many of whom are new to the district. Penn Manor has 42 new teachers, representing nearly 10 percent of the total, along with a half dozen new administrators.

Dr. Gale  emphasized that, despite the disruption caused by the COVID pandemic over the past two years, Penn Manor students did not experience significant learning loss – thanks to the extraordinary efforts of their teachers.

School board president Herk Rintz also addressed the group, praising the teaching staff for persevering in “one of the most difficult jobs in the world” in a challenging time.

Also addressing the crowd were Penn Manor’s 2021-2022 Outstanding Educators and Employee – Wendy Letavic, Jenna Fisher and Chip Froelich – and the 2022 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, Elizabeth Raff.

District parent Steve Fafel also spoke about the positive impact Penn Manor and its teachers have had on his four children.

Staff members then broke into small groups for conversations on a range of topics. Much of the focus was on strengthening Penn Manor’s bond with the community, providing additional support for students and building relationships within our schools and the community.

Teachers then reconvened in the auditorium in the afternoon to discuss specific suggestions.

Every staff member attending Monday’s Opening Day received a T-shirt emblazoned with “It’s a great day to be a Comet!” on the back. 

It was great to see so many familiar faces and get inspired for the new school year, which begins Monday, August 29!

  • Photo of Dr. Phil Gale addressing the audience in Penn Manor High School auditorium

Kickoff Classic to be held August 24 at Comet Field

Please join us in celebrating Penn Manor’s 2022-2023 athletic teams, cheer squads and marching band at the Kickoff Classic on Wednesday, August 24, at Comet Field.

Food trucks featuring pizza, burgers, barbecue, Mexican fare, ice cream and cupcakes will be at Comet Field beginning at 4:30 p.m. Team introductions will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Come out and share your Penn Manor pride!

Penn Manor welcomes two new assistant principals for 2022-2023

Penn Manor has welcomed two new assistant principals to its staff for the 2022-2023 school year.

Kelli Eachus is the new assistant principal at Hambright Elementary, and Jenna Fisher is a new assistant principal at Penn Manor High School.

Kelli replaces Melissa Mealy, who was named principal of Eshleman Elementary School this summer.

“I am thrilled to be coming home to Penn Manor,” said Kelli, a 1991 Penn Manor graduate. “I look forward to working with the staff, students and families at Hambright. Together we will make this a great year!”

Since 2012, Kelli worked as a reading specialist for Manheim Township School District. From 2010 to 2012, she was an acting assistant principal at Nitrauer and Reidenbaugh Elementary Schools.

She joined the Manheim Township teaching staff in 1997.

Kelli earned her elementary education degree from Shippensburg University in 1995, her master’s degree from Millersville University in 2005 and her principal certification from Cabrini College in 2009.

She and her husband, Rob, live in Penn Manor. Their son is a 2019 Penn Manor graduate, and their daughter attends Penn Manor High School.

Jenna Fisher is one of four assistant principals at the high school. She replaces Dorina Andes, who was named Penn Manor’s supervisor of curriculum, instruction and assessment this summer.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with the team at Penn Manor High School,” Jenna said.  “In order to strive for continued educational success for all, I am committed to building positive student and staff relationships.”

Jenna is a 2007 graduate of West Chester University, where she played field hockey and lacrosse. She began teaching in 2007 at West Chester Bayard Rustin High School, serving as department chairperson and head field hockey and assistant women’s lacrosse coach for six years. 

She joined the Penn Manor teaching staff in 2015 as a physical education teacher at Pequea Elementary and was named Penn Manor’s Outstanding Elementary Educator of the Year for 2021-2022.

Jenna earned her master’s degree in education from West Chester in 2009 and her educational leadership certificate and principal certification from Penn State University in 2021. 

Jenna and her husband, Jeff, live in Millersville with their two daughters, who attend Letort Elementary.  Jenna coaches their soccer, field hockey and lacrosse teams.

We wish Jenna and Kelli the best in their new leadership positions at Penn Manor!

Photos of Kelli Eachus and Jenna Fisher
Jenna Fisher, left, and Kelli Eachus

Orientation sessions for new students run from August 16 through 25

Penn Manor will be hosting orientation sessions to help familiarize students with the schools they will attend in 2022-2023. These sessions, which run from August 16 through 25, are for new students or those who are transferring to a new school. You can find the schedule here. The 2022-2023 school year begins on Monday, August 29. Contact individual schools for more information.

Penn Manor welcomes 41 new professional staff for 2022-2023  

Penn Manor welcomed 41 new professional staff for the 2022-2023 school year during New Teacher Orientation, held Aug. 10 and 11 at Penn Manor High School and Manor Middle School.

The new appointments, pending school board approval, include:

Central Manor Elementary
Hannah Brown, Grade 6
Emily Gutierrez, Grade 1
Megan Trevoy, Learning Support

Conestoga Elementary
Sean Hermanns, Health and Physical Education
Eloy Rodriguez, Grade 5

Hambright Elementary
Angelina DeLima-Diaz, Learning Support
Abigail Fried Emotional Support
Allison Hege, Learning Support
Meghan Minich, School Nurse
Lauren Myer, Kindergarten

Hambright/Letort Elementary
Lisa Ammon, School Psychologist
Kimberly Kuhns-Baione, Grade 2

Penn Manor High School          
Joseph Blowers, English/Social Studies
Michelle Boland, BiologyChristopher Davidson, Social Studies
Sarah Davis, English
Joshua Fisher, Science
Barney Peace, Physics
Jakob Perkowski, Technology Education
Angel  Robinson, Math
Laveena Shertzer, Math Learning Support
Nicolette Smith, English
Shandra Stoner, Math
Janelle Troup, Learning Support

Letort Elementary
Mary Harnish, Grade 5

Manor Middle School
Victoria Bell, Math
Jennifer Charles, Learning Support
Matt Davis, Social Studies
Alyssa Hipple, English
Hannah Miller, Math
Shaniqua Troup, Reading

Martic Elementary
Shawna Showalter, Grade 4

Marticville Middle
Jenna Burger, English
Danielle Buzzelli, Learning Support
Alicia DeMille, English
Phoebe Tanis, English
Shaun Ulmer Computer Technology

Pequea Elementary
Devon Orzolek, Grade 4
Sonja Welsh, Health & Physical Education

Pequea Elementary/PMHS
Tyler Ziegler, Technology Education

To all our new staff members, welcome to the Penn Manor family, and best wishes for the 2022-2023 school year!