Incoming superintendent Dr. Gale seeks feedback from Penn Manor community

Dr. Phil Gale, who officially takes over as Penn Manor superintendent on July 1, is interested in feedback from the community as he begins this next chapter of our school district. Please complete this survey, which will be active until July 15.

Here is the message Dr. Gale has sent to community members:

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I begin my role as superintendent of Penn Manor School District. I’ve had the privilege of serving as a district administrator for the past 22 years. While I have my perspective on what makes Penn Manor a great district, I am looking to gather thoughts and ideas from teachers and support staff. I’d like to hear about what you believe are Penn Manor’s strengths and its areas of need. Please respond to this brief survey so I can learn from your feedback and insights.

The survey takes only a few minutes to complete, and all responses are anonymous, unless respondents choose to include their contact information. The survey will be available to complete until July 15, 2022.

I look forward to working with our students, teachers, support staff, parents, and community members to build on our past success and lead Penn Manor into the future. Thank you for your input.

— Dr. Phil Gale

Input sought on Penn Manor’s special education plan

Penn Manor is seeking feedback from the public on its proposed updated special education plan, which covers the period ending on June 30, 2024.

Every three years, public school districts in Pennsylvania are required to review and revise their special education plans. District residents are invited to review the plan, which is available online or in the Penn Manor School District Office, 2950 Charlestown Road, Lancaster 17603. 

Please contact Peggy Anastasio, Penn Manor’s director of student support services, with any comments, feedback or questions.

She can be reached at peggy.anastasio@pennmanor.net or at (717) 872-9500, ext. 2227.

Thank you for your input.

Job applications now being accepted for 2022-2023 positions

Penn Manor School District is hiring for a variety of positions for the 2022-2023 school year at all of our schools. We have vacancies in teaching and coaching positions, as well as support staff in the following areas:

  • Food service – part-time
  • Custodial – full-time and part-time
  • Secretarial/clerical – full-time
  • Health room nurses and substitute nurses (RN/LPN) – full-time and part-time
  • Cafeteria, building and playground aides – full-time and part-time
  • Title 1 Building Aides – full-time

Penn Manor offers competitive wages and benefits, along with on-the-job training.

You can see our current vacancies on the district’s employment website here.

In addition, you can call our Human Resources Department at 717-872-9500, ext. 2247, to arrange an interview.

For many positions, we offer on-the-spot interviews daily, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., in the Penn Manor School District Offices, 2950 Charlestown Road, Lancaster, PA 17603, located next to Manor Middle School.

Please consider joining our dynamic staff of employees, who are working each day to improve our community, one student at a time!

Manor FFA members earn top honors in state competition

Three teams of Manor FFA members placed first or second in the recent Pennsylvania FFA Convention and Activities week, held June 7 through 9 at Penn State University. 

The teams, all comprised of Penn Manor High School agricultural education students, participated in career development events (CDEs), competing against other teams from across the state in contests that evaluate skills in specific agricultural areas.

The Floriculture Team of Carly Railing, Leah Hess, Molly Gehr, and Vita Failla placed first in the state. Carly was the first-place individual in the state, and Jeanette Kneisley placed second. Olivia Malpica also participated in the competition.

The team will now move on to compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in October.  

The Livestock Evaluation Team of Chloe Perry, Emma French, Logan Broderick and Zeke Smith placed first in Pennsylvania. Jenna Smith also participated as an individual. 

The team also will be heading to Indianapolis to compete at the National FFA Convention.

The Poultry Evaluation Team of Derek Thomas, Layne Perry, Brooke Campbell and Kendall Hohenwarter placed second in the state, and Derek placed second and Layne third in the individual competition.

The team will travel to the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts in September to compete against teams from the northeastern United States.

The Milk Quality and Products Team of Daniel McCleaf, Jimmy Rose, Bethany Kramer and Katie Moyer placed fourth in the state, and Bethany placed third as an individual.

Congratulations to these students, and best wishes as they move on to regional and national competition.

  • Photo of Poultry Evaluation Team
    Poultry Evaluation Team, from left, Layne Perry, Derek Thomas, Brooke Campbell, Kendall Hohenwarter, and Brenna Moon.

Penn Manor families can sign up now for the Power Packs summer food program

Families interested in receiving food and recipes through Power Packs Project should sign up now to participate in the summer program, which runs from June 22 to August 10. Food will be distributed Wednesdays, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Loft, 222 N. George Street, Millersville. Sign up here or by using the QR code below.

Krista Cox named assistant superintendent for secondary education

Congratulations to Dr. Krista Cox, who has been named assistant superintendent for secondary education by the Penn Manor Board of School Directors.

Dr. Cox, who has served as principal of Eshleman Elementary School for the past 10 years, replaces Dr. Phil Gale, who takes over as Penn Manor superintendent July 1.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to continue to serve the Penn Manor community, which has given so much to my family over the years,” said Dr. Cox, a Penn Manor alumna whose four children have attended Penn Manor schools.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to work with our secondary staff and administration to provide the best education possible for our students to prepare them for life after high school.”

In her new role, Dr. Cox will be assisting Dr. Gale in all aspects of middle and high school school operations, including recruiting and supervising professional staff and developing and overseeing curriculum.

Before joining the Eshleman staff in 2012, Dr. Cox was an assistant principal at Penn Manor High School from 2009 to 2012.

She previously worked for Ephrata Area School District as assistant principal and assistant to the principal at Ephrata Middle School from 2005 to 2009.

From 2003 to 2006, Dr. Cox was Ephrata’s reading and language arts department supervisor, and from 1998 to 2005, she was a language arts teacher and reading specialist.

Dr. Cox earned her doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Immaculata University in 2013, her master’s degree in reading and language arts from Millersville University in 2000, and her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Millersville in 1993.

“Dr. Cox’s experience at all three levels provides her with the full perspective of the workings of a school district and the progression students make during their time in school,” said Dr. Gale.  “I firmly believe she will have a tremendous impact in her new role.”

Dr. Cox and her husband, Matt, live in Conestoga with their youngest daughter, Olivia, who will be a Penn Manor senior in the fall.

Best wishes to Dr. Cox on her appointment!

Many thanks for a successful 2021-2022 school year

Penn Manor would like to thank its staff, students, parents and community members for making the 2021-2022 school year such a success! The first day of classes for the 2022-2023 school year is Monday, August 29. Opening day for staff members is August 22. Registration is now under way for students who will be new to Penn Manor in 2022-2023.

We wish you a safe, healthy and restful summer!

400 seniors earn Penn Manor diplomas at June 1 commencement

A total of 400 members of the Penn Manor Class of 2022 received their diplomas Wednesday, June 1, before family and friends during a balmy outdoor ceremony at Millersville University’s Biemesderfer Stadium.

It was the second year in a row that commencement was held outdoors and the final graduation ceremony for Mike Leichliter, who is leaving Penn Manor after serving 13 years as superintendent. You can watch the ceremony here.

In his address to the crowd, principal Baron Jones commended the graduates for persevering in an unprecedented school year filled with ongoing high school construction and multiple classroom and schedule changes.

He listed some of the accomplishments of the senior class, which includes 36 students who took a total of 129 college-credit classes while at Penn Manor, including three who completed a full year at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.

In addition, 295 students took 451 advanced-placement exams in 27 different subjects, 75 students graduated in the honors program, and 61 seniors earned an honors degree and a grade-point average of 4.0 or better.

Among them was Max Bushong, who was selected by the high school faculty as the Penn Manor High School Student of the Year for 2022.

About 60 percent of the graduates plan to attend a two- or four-year college, and 31 percent are planning to pursue a career. In addition, 12 members of the senior class will be joining the United States military, including Colton Garber, who is already serving in the Marine Corps. His parents accepted his diploma on his behalf.

This year’s commencement speakers were valedictorian Natalie Krahulik, salutatorian Caroline Foltz, class president Riley Peart and Emily Riggs.

Caroline pointed out that every graduate took a unique path to commencement.

“Tonight, I encourage you to celebrate not only the diploma you earned but the way in which you earned that diploma,” she said. “Because, despite us all being given the same parameters to graduate, there are roughly 400 chairs arranged here in this stadium, indicating that there were roughly 400 distinct pathways that all led to this ceremony.”

“I challenge you to view the idea that ‘life’ is going to start tomorrow or after you’re handed your diploma as a falsehood instead of a reality. Realize that ‘life’ has been happening to each of us on our chosen pathways this entire time.”

“Have confidence, because the path you took to get here tonight has already traversed rough terrain. There were 400 distinct pathways that led here and 400 distinct pathways that will, in transition, leave this ceremony each in a unique and individual direction.”

“To the Class of 2022, congratulations!” 

  • Photo of ceremony

Four seniors to address graduates at tonight’s commencement

   Four members of the Class of 2022 will address graduates at this year’s commencement, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, in Millersville University’s Biemesderfer Stadium.

  Please note: The weather forecast is calling for temperatures approaching 90 degrees at the start of the ceremony. There is no shade in the stadium, so we encourage all attendees to dress in light clothing, stay hydrated and seek shade, if necessary, in the stadium concessions area, which will be open.

   Umbrellas may be used for shade prior to the start of the ceremony. Beverages will be available for sale at the concessions stand.  

   The entire ceremony will be livestreamed on the Penn Manor YouTube Channel here.

   This year’s speakers are valedictorian Natalie Krahulik, salutatorian Caroline Foltz, class president Riley Peart, and Emily Riggs.

   Natalie is the daughter of Sheryl and Keith Krahulik of Manor Township.

   At Penn Manor, she participated in theatre, chorus, volleyball, Math National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.

  After graduation, she plans to attend Grove City College and pursue degrees in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering.

   Caroline is the daughter of Don and Christy Foltz of Millersville.

   At Penn Manor, she participated in National Honor Society and the Mock Trial team. A year-round swimmer, Caroline was a member of a USA Swimming team.

   She plans to attend the Virginia Tech Honors College, where she will compete on the women’s swimming and diving team, and study English, Linguistics, and International Studies on a pre-law track.

     Riley is the daughter of Megan and Kevin Peart of Manor Township.

     At Penn Manor, she participated in varsity basketball, National Honor Society and MiniTHON, was a committee leader for Student Council, a student ambassador and president of the Class of 2022.

   She plans to attend the University of Maryland at College Park to study biology and public health.

   Emily is the daughter of Cathy and John Riggs of Lancaster.

   At Penn Manor she was a member of the basketball and softball teams, National Honor Society, Varsity Club and MiniTHON.

   Emily plans to attend the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she will play softball and major in mechanical engineering.

   For tonight’s ceremony, graduates are required to report to the high school auditorium by 5:30 p.m.

   Students and staff members attending commencement will park in the high school parking garage. Other guests are asked to park in designated areas on the Millersville University campus outlined on this map.

   Access to the high school campus will be severely limited before, during and after commencement. Attendees are urged to arrive early to find the best parking. The stadium gates will be open at 6 p.m.

Photo of the four commencement speakers.
From left, Riley Peart, Natalie Krahulik, Caroline Foltz and Emily Riggs.

Hambright Elementary and high school students collaborate on monsters project

  For Rachel Suter’s Hambright Elementary first-graders, monsters really can come to life, but they’re not scary at all. In fact, they’re adorable creatures lovingly made by hand.

  In April, Suter had her students describe in detail what an ideal monster would look like to them. She then passed along these descriptions and accompanying crayon drawings to students in Elizabeth Sheerer’s Fashion and Design class at Penn Manor High School.

  The older students got busy bringing the illustrations and words to life, using felt, fiberfill, yarn, fabric, buttons and other materials to create hand-sewn one-of-a-kind monsters for every student in the class. The project gave the first-graders a chance to practice their descriptive writing skills and the high school students an opportunity to develop their design and sewing skills.

   But it went far beyond that.

   The groups of students developed a real bond that culminated when the stuffed creatures were delivered to Hambright the morning of May 23.

   “My students were so ecstatic to see their monsters and compare their stuffed animals to the pictures they drew,” said Suter. “They really look up to the older kids, and they felt really special to have high school students read their stories and create something special, just for them.”

Sheerer’s students took part in the monster “reveal” via Google Meet.

   “My students loved seeing them get their monsters and were excited to see them dance around with them,” she said.

“I was very impressed with my students’ hard work and dedication. They learned the meaning of creativity, new stitches, and hand and machine sewing skills. It gave them a sense of pride to accomplish the project.”

   Some of the high school students made two or three of the creatures, being sure to replicate the colors and shapes in their younger peers’ drawings. Others added features, like a chocolate chip cookie, based on students’ written descriptions.

   Many of the first-graders, with little prompting, gave very specific details about their monsters’ personalities  (“I would tell him a joke and he would laugh”)  and where they would live (“in my desk,” “under my bed”).

   Suter said she didn’t hesitate when Sheerer – who taught Suter when she attended Penn Manor High School 10 years ago – told her about the project.

  “My students were able to use all the writing skills we have been working on all year, and they also learned about collaborating and working with others,” she said.

   “It was the perfect end-of-the-year activity!”

   High school junior Abigail Nesmith said the project helped her develop her hand sewing skills. But it had another benefit.

    “In this crazy world, it was a nice opportunity to think of others,” she said.

  • Photo of one student with monster

Pat Tocci named new Penn Manor Athletic Director

The Penn Manor Board of School Directors has appointed Pat Tocci as the school district’s new athletic director, effective June 20.

Tocci, currently senior director and chief revenue officer at the National Wrestling Coaches Association, will replace Steve Kramer, who was Penn Manor AD from July 2019 until April 2022.

“I am very thankful to the Penn Manor administration and school board for entrusting me to lead the athletic department,” Tocci said.  

“Penn Manor is a well-respected district, not just within the Lancaster-Lebanon League, but within District 3 and beyond. I’m looking forward to continuing that legacy and helping our student athletes and coaches continue to represent our community with respect, class and sportsmanship.”

Tocci said he was attracted to the Penn Manor AD job because it provides “an opportunity to invest in the school district’s future in developing strong coaches and students who see the benefit of athletics, not just as a competitive outlet, but as an educational one.”

Tocci has been in his current position since 2001. He previously was assistant manager of admissions and financial aid at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston and financial aid liaison at Kutztown University.

From 1996 until 2000, Tocci was Kutztown’s head wrestling coach. He also served as assistant wrestling coach at Harvard University and coached cross-country and wrestling at Bethlehem Catholic High School.

From 1993 to 1995, Tocci taught at-risk students at the Children’s Home of Easton.

While attending Brown University, he was a member of the wrestling team and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1993.

Dr. Phil Gale, Penn Manor assistant superintendent, said Tocci’s “proven ability to work with student athletes, coaches, and community members will be of great benefit to our athletic program.”

“We are very excited to have Pat join the district,” he said. “He will provide the leadership our programs need to build off of our past successes to improve and grow.”

Tocci lives in Lititz with his wife, Marisa, and their three sons, Patrick, Nico and Marco.

Welcome to Penn Manor, Pat!

Outdoor commencement to be held at 7 p.m. June 1

Members of the Penn Manor Class of 2022 will receive their diplomas at an outdoor ceremony at Millersville University’s Biemesderfer Stadium that begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1.

In case of inclement weather, the rain date is June 2 or 3.

Each graduating senior will receive eight tickets for the ceremony, to be distributed along with caps and gowns at the conclusion of commencement practice on May 31. A second practice will be held on June 1 at the stadium. Both practices begin at 8 a.m.

A baccalaureate service for Penn Manor seniors will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at Millersville Community Church, Hope Campus, 242 Bender Road, Millersville 17551.

On June 1, graduates are required to report to the high school auditorium by 5:30 p.m.

Students and staff members attending commencement will park in the high school parking garage. Other guests are asked to park in designated areas on the Millersville University campus outlined on this map.

Access to the high school campus will be severely limited before, during and after commencement. Attendees are urged to arrive early to find the best parking. The stadium gates will be open at 6 p.m..

The class valedictorian and salutatorian and other commencement speakers will be announced next week.

Peanut butter included in safety recall was served at Penn Manor schools

Penn Manor has been notified that peanut butter affected by the recent safety recall linked to a salmonella outbreak was served at cafeterias at Manor and Marticville middle schools and Letort, Martic and Central Manor elementary schools. The following letter was sent to families with students attending those schools:

Dear Penn Manor Families,

On May 24, Penn Manor School District’s food supplier, Feeser’s Food Distributors, notified the district that Jif peanut butter products included in a voluntary recall were among several food shipments sent to our schools. Penn Manor has taken steps to identify and destroy all products associated with the recall; however, some of the peanut butter was served at our cafeterias over the past several weeks, prior to the nationwide recall being issued on May 20. Affected schools include Manor and Marticville middle schools and Letort, Martic and Central Manor elementary schools.

The recalled peanut butter, which was served in dipping cups, may be linked to a salmonella outbreak across 12 states. Symptoms of salmonella infection may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, nausea, or vomiting. If your child experiences these symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this situation, please contact Courtney Kolp, Penn Manor Director of Food Services, at courtney.kolp@pennmanor.net or (717) 872-9500 ext. 1829.

Class of 2022 receives more than $150,000 in scholarships, awards

Members of the Penn Manor Class of 2022 received more than $150,000 in scholarships and awards during the 55th Annual Commencement Awards Ceremony, held May 19 at Penn Manor High School.

A total of 98 students received 127 scholarships – including 66 awards administered through the Penn Manor Education Foundation – to assist them with their college and career plans.

The total of $154,514 includes two large scholarships for members of the Class of 2022. Hannah Fogell received a $30,000 James Hale Steinman Memorial Scholarship, and Julia Hale received the $14,000 Lee “Todd” Amigh Scholarship.

The Amigh award was established this year by Jim Amigh, a retired Penn Manor health and physical education teacher,  in memory of his wife, Lee, to honor her commitment to environmental education.

The Amigh award is one of 10 news scholarships established this year by the Education Foundation.

Here is a list of all the awards, which are sponsored by local businesses, organizations and individuals. You can watch a recording of the ceremony here.

Congratulations to these students, and many thanks to our scholarship sponsors!

Senior student athletes, PM coaches honored with awards, scholarships

More than 50 Penn Manor High School student athletes were honored May 12 during the Senior Sports Awards Social in the high school cafeteria.

In all, more than 40 awards and scholarships were presented, including Coach of the Year to Megan Collins (girls’ basketball) and Assistant Coach of the Year to Cathy Riggs (softball).

The top athletic awards went to:

  • Outstanding Penn Manor Male and Female Athletes — Emily Riggs (softball), Morgan Miller (basketball), and Hunter Sipel (baseball).
  • All-Around Male and Female Athletes — Lily Sugra (soccer and basketball) and Erik Hinkle (football and lacrosse).
  • A. Landis Brackbill Scholar Athlete Award – Lily Sugra and Emily Riggs.

Here’s what their coaches had to say about these student athletes:

Lily Sugra is a two-sport athlete who excelled in both soccer and basketball. She helped guide the girls’ soccer team to finish as co-section champs and league champions. In basketball, she averaged 17.7 points per game and helped Penn Manor win its first section championship in 47 years. Lily was selected as a first team All-Star, as well as the Section 1 MVP. Lily plans to attend East Stroudsburg University in the fall.

Hunter Sipel led the baseball team in several key categories his senior year, including ERAs, strikeouts and RBIs, home runs and extra-base hits at the plate. He hit a game-winning, two-out grand slam vs. Wilson in the seventh inning, and had dominating shutout performances vs. Manheim Township and Hempfield. Hunter earned a scholarship to play for Division I Kent State in the fall. 

Emily Riggs has the rare combination of the desire to win and instinctual play during games, making her one of the best softball players to come through the Penn Manor program. A four-year varsity player, she compiled a .542 batting average, including 117 hits, 99 RBIs and 15 home runs. Her ERA as a pitcher was 1.33, and she had nine wins, eight saves and 134 strikeouts. Emily plans to attend the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the fall.

Erik Hinkle was a two-time Lancaster-Lebanon League All-Star in football. He led the team as captain and was a leading tackler for two years. In lacrosse, Erik was the heartbeat of the team and was voted first team in his junior and senior years. Erik controlled the faceoff “X” against some of the top teams in District 3, including going 95 percent from the “X” against Lampeter Strasburg. He has been accepted at Penn State.

Morgan Miller scored over 900 points in her high school basketball career.  As a team captain, she helped lead the Comets to their first section championship in 47 years and was selected a first team All-Star for Section 1. Morgan is planning to attend Randolph Macon College in the fall.

See the full list of award winners here.

Photo of student athletes Morgan Miller, Erik Hinkle, Hunter Sipel, Lily Sugra and Emily Riggs.
From left, Morgan Miller, Erik Hinkle, Hunter Sipel, Lily Sugra and Emily Riggs.