• Fall 2016 Award of Excellence winners

    Tara Breiner 
    Tyson-Schoener Elementary School
    Tara is the attendance secretary at Tyson-Schoener Elementary.  Previously, she worked in the Pottsgrove School District as a building aide and a part-time attendance secretary. At Tyson-Schoener, she recently organized a special Pink-Out Day, where she worked Reading Health System, students and staff to create and donate get-well bags for breast cancer patients. As someone who loves to continually give back the community, Tara also helps to organization school fundraisers, the school PTO and the WATCH D.O.G.S. program. She is also a member of the school’s climate committee and helps to organize parent volunteers. Tara lives in Boyertown with her fiancé, Marc, his son Dominic, and her three children, Michael, Makayla and Mason.  In her spare time, she enjoys watching her children play sports and spending time outdoors. 

    Dawn Conrad 
    Lauer’s Park Elementary School
    Dawn Conrad is the librarian at Lauer’s Park Elementary. She is a 2003 graduate of Grove City College and attended Kutztown University for her master’s degree of Library Science. She loves to collaborate with teachers and make the library a welcoming place for all. This year, she was able to add STEAM stations to the library, including a Lego Wall, K’Nex building station, and origami folding station. She loved taking a team of 5th graders to the Reading Olympics competition last year and is enjoying her new role as Department Head for the elementary librarians. Besides her passion for teaching and reading, Dawn loves spending time with her husband and 3-year-old son, Kevin. She has also been backpacking in Colorado and Alaska.

    Leanne Eckenrode, MSW, LSW
    Reading High School
    Leanne  is the School Social Worker and Homeless Liaison at Reading High School. She graduated from Millersville University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She also earned her master’s degree in social work from Millersville in 2010. She received her license in the state of Pennsylvania to practice social work in 2013. Throughout her career, she has worked at a homeless shelter for pregnant homeless women and at Pennsylvania Counseling Services.  At Pennsylvania Counseling Services, she was a program director for Multisystemic Therapy, which focused on teens from 12-17 years old who were at risk of out of home placement.  When she is not working, she loves spending time with her husband and 3-year-old son. She also enjoys running, going to the beach and being in the woods backpacking and hiking.  She feels very lucky to be a part of the Reading School District family and looks forward to many more years with the district. 

    Susan Higginson
    Amanda Stout Elementary School
    Susan is the principal of Amanda Stout Elementary. As an educator with more than 20 years of experience, Susan began her teaching career in the Reading School District in 1995 as a third grade teacher at 16th and Haak Elementary.  She obtained her Reading Specialist Certification, which was put to good use as she worked as a classroom teacher for the next 11 years.  She became the Instructional Supervisor at Amanda Stout Elementary in 2006, and when Mr. Mike Stralo retired as principal of the school in 2007, Susan was hired to fill that position.  When Susan is not at Amanda Stout, you can find her on an agility course with her Portuguese Water Dog or at home in the garden.  She has a very patient husband who has accepted the fact that their home has “gone to the dogs” as they now reside with six Portuguese Water Dogs.  Susan is currently a director of the Keystone Portuguese Water Dog Club whose goal is to promote the breed and support health research.  Family is a core value for Susan whether it is the family at Amanda Stout or her family at home.  Susan is very proud of her daughter, Sarah, who is a successful mother and teacher. Susan also enjoys being “Mimi” to her three delightful granddaughters.  In addition to her daughter, Susan’s parents are nearby and the family feels very fortunate to have four generations gather together frequently at family events.

    Holly Keown 
    Northwest Middle School
    Holly is a 1989 graduate of Reading High School. She received a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from West Chester University in 1993.  She taught K-5 music at Riverside Elementary for almost five years before taking a three-year child rearing leave.  She returned to the Reading School District as a Middle School Vocal Music teacher at Northwest Middle School 15 years ago.  In the last 15 years, she co-directed 14 musicals at Northwest Middle School with her colleague, LeAnne Zettlemoyer and choreographed four fall productions at RHS under the direction of Joe Smith.  In addition to her general music classroom schedule, she conducts the Northwest Middle School Chorus and All-City Chorus, rehearses kids for County Chorus and, new this year, instructs the Tap Dance Club. When she is not busy at school, she is spending as much time as possible with her husband, Ryan Keown, three college kids, Olivia, Aidan and Bailey, and chasing after her three rescue dogs.  Holly credits her parents, Tom and Carla Heckman and her husband, Ryan, for helping her survive the last 20 years of balancing a very fulfilling career with parenting three amazing kids.  

    Jennifer Lengel 
    12th and Marion Elementary School
    Jennifer has taught for 36 ½ years in the Reading School District, as a floater for ¾ year and the remainder at 12th and Marion. She has taught third grade, fourth grade, kindergarten, and first grade. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Wheaton College and her master’s degree in elementary education from Kutztown University. She feels one of her greatest accomplishments is having raised two strong, intelligent, independent daughters who have grown up to be successful adults. Another accomplishment, she says, is she has taught hundreds of RSD students for more than 36 years, and has hopefully instilled in them a desire to learn and grow as individuals. In her spare time, she enjoys thrifting, gardening, going to the gym and singing in her church choir. She also directs Vacation Bible School at her church. Her family includes husband of 24 years, David, and daughters, Emily, who teachers high school science, and Elizabeth, who is a sophomore at Wheaton College.

    Jaclyn Pentecharsky 
    10th and Green Elementary School
    When Jackie attended Kutztown University, she became acquainted with Reading School District during her student teaching placements, both at 10th and Green Elementary School. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she came on board as a teacher at 10th and Green in the 2007-2008 school year, teaching 3rd grade for eight years and looping to 4th grade last school year. Now in her 10th year at RSD, she has also earned her master’s degree in Elementary Education at Kutztown and an ESL certification from Penn State University in collaboration with University of Torabo. She will complete Educational Leadership certification this month through Wilkes University. Jackie has spent the last 18 summers working at resident Girl Scout camps: Camp Wood Haven and Camp Laughing Waters, transitioning from working in the kitchen, to being a counselor, program specialist, and finally camp director. She truly believes in the good that camp does for children. When she is not at school or completing graduate work, she enjoys all things outdoors, including hiking, kayaking, biking, camping, white water rafting, and horseback riding. She also enjoys travelling, having games nights, playing music with her friends, spending time with her nieces and nephew, and experiencing the world around her. She’ll generally try anything once. She’s honored to receive the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence and knows that it wouldn’t be possible without her colleagues at 10th and Green. She works with some of the most dedicated teachers, and she feels privileged to be a part of the team there.