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Retired G-A schools chief recognized

May 07, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- P. Duff Rearick, retired superintendent of the Greencastle-Antrim School District, recently received the Arnold Hillman Pennsylvania Rural Educator of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) at its annual conference in State College.

To be nominated, a candidate must have made significant contributions to the quality of rural education and student learning opportunities were improved as a result.

"Duff's superintendency was notable for many reasons," Joseph Bard, executive director of PARSS, said in a press release. "His entrepreneurial approach to administering his district and his creative approach to academic programming and curriculum design were unique. He was one of the first educational leaders in Pennsylvania to combine traditional classroom course work with the use of electronic instructional technology.

"And it was his vision, organizational ability and leadership were key contributing elements in the creation and development of blendedschools.net, now one of the largest and most important online learning programs in the nation."

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Presenting the award was Arnold Hillman, a distinguished educator and former recipient for whom the award was named. Rearick has many characteristics that continue to influence his peers today, Hillman said.

"Duff is a man who thinks way, way outside of the box, but always, always the children came first," Hillman said. "He is a leader that understands people; one may call him a 'people whisperer' -- one who serves and inspires others through his leadership. He also has a special gift for getting the right people 'on the bus' and putting them in the right seats in an organization. That is evidenced in the success he experienced while a superintendent."

Rearick accepted the award, saying he was humbled by the honor. During his acceptance remarks, he reminded everyone in attendance the needs of children must be their first consideration in any decision.

"To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter," Rearick said. "The needs of children must always matter."

For many years, Rearick served as a member of the PARSS Board of Directors.

"We deeply appreciated his common sense and counsel," Bard said. "His wisdom played an important role in the growth and greater impact of this organization on public policy in Pennsylvania."

Rearick, who worked in several area school districts, was superintendent in Greencastle for 12 years, retiring in 2007.

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