Moshannon Valley School District Superintendent Dr. John Zesiger, left, was notified at Monday’s board meeting he is the recipient of the 2019-20 Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small School’s Rural Education Advocacy Award. He was congratulated by board President Cassandra Kitko.

HOUTZDALE — Moshannon Valley School District’s Superindent Dr. John Zesiger has been chosen to receive the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small School’s Education Advocacy Award for 2019-20.

According to information on the association’s website, the purpose of the Rural Education Advocacy Award is to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of rural school districts consistent with the education policies supported by the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools. It was established in 2017.

Board President Cassandra Kitko on Monday read the letter from PARSS Vice President Michele Orner congratulating Zesiger. The communication noted he would receive the award and his accomplishments would be recognized at the organization’s annual conference in April.

Zesiger’s name will be added to a traveling plaque that will be on display at Moshannon Valley for one year.

Zesiger said at the meeting he was very surprised to learn the news. Following hte meeting, he said, “I am a big fan of this school district. This award validates the hard work and dedication that everyone in this school district does every day.”

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District Business Manager Elsie Harchak reported Zesiger received letters of support from fellow superintendents, school district administrators and principals and state Rep. Tommy Sankey, R-Clearfied/Cambria.

Last year, member districts were eligible to nominate one individual including school board directors, educators, school administrators, community members and business per year for the award by Jan. 1.

Award recipients were selected based on the description and evidence provided in the nomination form that shows how the nominee is working to affect educational policy and legislation through effective advocacy for rural school districts at the local, state and or national level.

Examples may include but are not limited to keeping the local school board updated on legislative issues; initiating the adoption of resolutions and letters; networking with legislators and other state policymakers through letters, phone calls, and visits to create awareness about rural education concerns; educating others about the issues affecting rural school districts; encouraging others to become advocates for public education; collaborating with the media to garner positive attention for Pennsylvania’s rural and small schools.