Penn High School in the Spotlight

Posted on February 27, 2024

A few times a year, the P-H-M Board of School Trustees holds their board meetings off-site at one of P-H-M’s 15 schools as a way to highlight for the Board and the community the education accomplishments and academic achievements taking place in the spotlight school. Click to see the full photo gallery below.

Monday, February 26 was Penn High School’s turn to shine!

Penn Principal Dr. Sean Galiher, Associate Principal Rachel Fry, Assistant Principals Sarah Hendricks, Jeanie Mitchell, and Josiah Parker, along with Athletic Director Jeff Hart, presented 2023-2024 first semester achievement report, which included data and information on academics, attendance, and athletics, along with recognitions of State Championship and Runners-Up teams, great teachers, mentors and coaches. Click here to see Principal Galiher’s full Board Presentation.

Penn Spell Bowl State Champions

Intermingled in the presentations were performances by Penn Fine Arts groups like the student stars of the school musical, “The Music Man,” a quartet, the Jazz Band, and a tap dancer. Choir teacher Andrew Nemeth used the student performances to quiz Board Members on their musical knowledge with “Name that Tune.”  Click the YouTube link below to hear.


Some of the main highlights of Principal Galiher’s presentation to the Board highlighted Penn’s 98.12% graduation rate for 2023 and is on track to have the same for 2024. Looking at the freshmen class, 94.51% are “on-track” after 1st semester of the 2023-24 SY. The rest of Penn students are also doing well: 94.4% for sophomores, 94.6% for juniors, and 93.4% for seniors. The Class of 2024 is projected to have 52.4% graduate with Honors Diplomas.

In September of this school year, Penn was named a 2023 Cognia® School of Distinction. Cognia is a global nonprofit school improvement organization grounded in research-based performance standards. They accredit 40,000 public and private schools in 90 countries; only 96 schools globally were recognized as Schools of Distinction, and Penn High School was among them, and the only high school in Indiana!


Cognia’s Mid-Atlantic Director Jennifer Horvath traveled from the Louisville, Kentucky to address the School Board and explain Cognia’s rigorous accreditation process. Ms. Horvath praised Penn High School for teacher and administration collaboration, along with the school’s climate and culture. Cognia student surveys showed that students feel safe, valued, and supported by their teachers. Click here to hear Ms. Horvath’s comments.

Associate Principal Fry presented on AP and dual credit enrollment and the Early College Academy. Currently at 1,816 students out of Penn’s @3,500 total students are taking AP courses; and 678 students of the Class of 2024 are enrolled in dual credit classes.

For the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years, Penn High School ranked FIRST in the state with the highest number of students earning ICC (Indiana College Core) or AGS (Associate of General Studies) certificates earned! This was just one of the reasons why the IDOE recognized Penn with Excellence in College Readiness Award along with a $250,000 grant!

Debate Team teacher and coach Mr. Jeremy Starkweather, sporting a new haircut thanks to his team’s State Championship win, presented his student winners.


Along with the Debate Team, the other State Championship team, Spell Bowl, was also recognized. Both the Girls and Boys Swim/Dive teams were also recognized fresh off IHSAA State Championships returning as State Runners-Up. For the first time in Penn’s history, both teams were State Runners-Up in the same year! Lily Christianson is the State Champion in 50-Freestyle, 100-Freestyle, and was a member of the 200-Freestyle Relay Team with Kaia Podlin, Alayna Riggins, and Molly Barnes.


The Board thanked retiring Hall of Fame Head Football Coach Cory Yeoman for his 40 years of service to Penn High School, and also recognized the Yeoman family in attendance.



Penn Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Cates named the 2024 National Coach of the Year by the National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA) was also honored.

Many more student and staff accomplishments along with supporting data were shared with the Board. Click here to see Principal Galiher’s full Board Presentation.

Last Modified February 28, 2024