Clarion County Teacher Named Regional Finalist for PA Teacher of the Year Award

harmonNEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT) – A Clarion County teacher has recently been identified as one of 12 regional finalists who will advance to the next level for 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.

Joe Harmon, a teacher in the Redbank Valley School District, was invited to continue to the next step in the selection process for the prestigious award. The honor is awarded annually to recognize one educator’s dedication and commitment to providing Pennsylvania’s young people with the highest quality education.

“I was ridiculously excited to reach this far in the Teacher of the Year process. I was honored just to be nominated, then to be named a Semi-Finalist, but then to be picked as one of 12 Finalists — I was floored. I rushed to tell my wife and then called my kids,” said Harmon.

Harmon, a self-proclaimed “Navy brat,” spent his formative years living in various cities including San Diego, California, Philadelphia, and Olympia, Washington. He has made the New Bethlehem Area his home since graduating from Anchor Bay High School in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan.

Harmon attended Clarion University where he received a BS. Ed. degree in Secondary Ed. Social Studies. He later earned a Master’s of Education degree from Lock Haven University and is currently in the dissertation phase of his Doctorate of Ed. at Liberty University of Virginia.

Harmon currently teaches 8th grade Civics and Government and 10th grade U.S. History at the Redbank Valley Junior Senior High School, where he has been employed for the past 11 years. He also serves as the advisor of the school’s Bible Club, and is on the Nation Teachers Council for Civics.

When asked what qualities he thinks makes a good teacher, Harmon replied that a never-ending desire to improve teaching and student learning, knowing how to manage a classroom in a way that students feel safe and welcome so they can learn and flourish, and honesty and compassion are the most important qualities.

For those interested in becoming a teacher, Harmon offers the following advice, “Get ready for one of the most exciting, challenging, rewarding, and fun careers you could possibly enter. My advice – never forget the reason for being a teacher – the students. We are there for them!”

Harmon resides in Fairmout City with his wife. He and his wife have five children.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education will announce the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the year in a special awards ceremony December 6 through 8.

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