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Two Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship administrators received awards recognizing their efforts to improve the school and its quality of education.
PHCSE’s newest principal, Jessica Zuk, received the 2022 George Award for Outstanding Coordinator Leader from the international education organization MicroSociety, Inc. The award recognizes her time as a MicroSociety Coordinator before transitioning to her new role in July.
She previously received the honor in 2008.
“It was definitely exciting and heartfelt because I am no longer in that role,” she said. “I am extremely excited about the person taking over and the program is in good hands.”
PHCSE was the first MicroSociety in the world to pilot the nonprofit’s new digital platform, MicroSociety 2.0. The nonprofit has been in a partnership with PHCSE since 2011 to integrate its in-person model into the charter school for K-8 students learning about entrepreneurship and leadership. Zuk said the program gives students the opportunity to experience the real world by running their own businesses, paying taxes and operating their own banks.
The Richard King Mellon Foundation granted $250,000 to MicroSociety Inc. to collaborate with the PHCSE and Duquesne University on MicroSociety 2.0. The online platform will offer the ability to conduct all MicroSociety activities anytime and anywhere.
“The pandemic made us all realize the need to turn to virtual quickly — and we were able to do that quickly — but we wanted to create a long term solution,” she said.
PHCSE CEO Wayne Jones received the Dr. Lottie P. Edwards Community Service Award as part of Mt. Ararat Community Activity Center’s MENtoring program. The award recognizes male mentors in the Greater Pittsburgh Area who have made an impact in their community. Jones was one of eight recipients nominated and chosen for the award.
Jones said he is grateful for being recognized for his efforts to mentor students and push them to their potential.
“I don’t do this work for personal accolades or recognition,” he said. “I do it because it is the right thing to do. Helping people brings me joy.”
Jones said with only 2% of Black men as educators in the United States, it is important for students to see themselves represented in education to consider it as a career.
“If we truly want to develop the interest and potential of more educators of color to diversify the field of education, it begins with someone like myself physically being there,” he said.
He was also the Legacy Award Winner for School Leader by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Schools.
The award speaks to the amazing team at Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship, he said.
Jones said in the school’s 12 years of existence, it has been able to accomplish a lot in a short time.
“We are in position to be viewed as a pioneer and leader in this entrepreneurship K-12 space,” he said. “This proves that what we are doing and the type of education environment we have created is not only in demand but is necessary.”
Tanisha Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tanisha by email at or via Twitter .
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