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Education is Important

KC O’Day continues talking with Dr. Gerald Zahorchak.

Dr. Gerald L. Zahorchak recently retired as division chair at the University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He served the Greater Johnstown School District as superintendent schools on two occasions, 1997 to 2003 and 2012 to 2015 and as superintendent of the Allentown School District, the third-largest district 2010-2011.

Previously, he served for five years under Governor Ed Rendell as the secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 2005–10. He was responsible for the education of nearly two million children across the Commonwealth and administered a budget of more than $9 billion annually. He also had responsibility for the Office of Higher Education and the Commonwealth libraries. Zahorchak also served as the CEO of the state Board of Education, which sets and directs policy for elementary and secondary education, career and technical education, and postsecondary/higher education in Pennsylvania.

Zahorchak has also served as Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary for elementary and secondary education as well as served in the North Star, Shanksville–Stonycreek, and Greater Johnstown school districts.

Zahorchak has been a member of dozens of civic and professional councils, boards, and other organizations. As well, Zahorchak served as an elected member of the Greater Johnstown School Board and Johnstown City Council, where he was also the Deputy Mayor.

Zahorchak has received numerous honors and awards including the Penn State University Alumni Fellow; Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and honorary doctor of laws degrees at both IUP and the Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He was the recipient of the President’s Award for Distinguished Alumnus in Education at St. Francis University and is in the St. Francis Athletic Hall of Fame. Zahorchak was twice named the Pennsylvania Jaycees Outstanding Young Citizen.

In addition to the EPLC Board, Zahorchak is a member of the board of directors for the Rendell Center for Civics Education and Engagement; vice president of the United Way of the Laurel Highlands Board; Cambria County Drug Coalition Board and several other Boards and civic committees in his hometown, Johnstown, Pa.

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