Education Policy Leadership Awards Dinner: 2007
On October 17, 2007, The Education Policy and Leadership Center honored Senator James J. Rhoades with the Edward Donley Education Policy Leadership Award at the Center’s annual awards dinner.
Senator Rhoades was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in 1980 and is now serving his seventh consecutive term. He has served as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee (R) since 1991. Senator Rhoades represents the 29th senatorial district, which includes all of Schuylkill County, as well as parts of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton Counties. He began his career as a teacher and coach at Pottsville and Mahanoy City High Schools, and was the principal of Mahanoy Area Junior High School in the 1970s.
His experience in the education field has made Senator Rhoades one of the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s foremost authorities on education issues. He has put these resources to work for Pennsylvania’s students as a member of the State Board of Education, the Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education, and the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Senator Rhoades has worked to enact major education reforms such as the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Accountability Act, the Teacher Continuing Professional Education Act, and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.
In addition to his experience in the education field, Senator Rhoades advocates for the development of Pennsylvania’s workforce and economy. He has been a leader in designing some of the most aggressive economic development policy in the state, including the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly program for senior citizens and the highly successful Keystone Opportunity Zone program, which allows tax breaks for owners or residents of some underdeveloped and underutilized areas in Pennsylvania and has allowed for tens of thousands of new jobs to be created since 1999.
Senator Rhoades holds a Bachelor’s Degree from East Stroudsburg State College, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Lehigh University.
The Center also recognized with the EPLC Partner Award the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA).
PSBA has been a very important partner to EPLC during the past nine years. The staff and leadership of PSBA have regularly and generously participated in numerous EPLC forums, conference panels, and study groups.
In 2007, PSBA partnered with EPLC to conduct a series of regional workshops for school board candidates, to help expand the pool of citizens who are motivated and prepared to serve on local school boards.
In addition, the Center presented the EPLC Leadership Program Alumni Award to Chris Wakeley, Elaine Harris-Fulton and Jean Masiko.
Chris Wakeley graduated with the 1999-2000 class of EPLC’s nationally-recognized Education Policy Fellowship Program and remains an active member of EPLC’s statewide Leadership Network.
Chris currently serves as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania House Education Committee (D). He also served on the Rendell Administration’s Department of Education Transition Team.
Elaine Harris-Fulton graduated with the 2001-2002 class of EPLC’s Institute for Community Leadership in Education (ICLE) in Pittsburgh. She credits her ICLE training with her realization that good community networks lead to better schools, thriving communities, and informed parents.
Elaine has been a volunteer Parent Advocate with the Wilkinsburg Family Support Center for more than twevle years. She also serves on the Governor’s Commission on Children and Families and on the Family Support Policy Board in Allegheny County.
Jean Masiko graduated with the 2001-2002 class of EPLC’s Institute for Community Leadership in Education (ICLE) in the Lehigh Valley, and remains actively involved in EPLC’s statewide Leadership Network.
Jean is currently the Staff Executive of Education 2010!, which is comprised of business executives, education and local government officials, and community leaders who support the economic viability of public education in the Allentown School District and the Lehigh Valley.