When Scott Houseknecht was in high school he helped younger neighborhood kids with their homework and taught them how to flip into a pool in his small Central Pennsylvania town.
Though Houseknecht has moved away from his hometown, he continues to enrich the lives of neighborhood kids- Edgewood neighborhood kids. Since 1989, Houseknecht has been principal of Edgewood Elementary School.
Houseknecht, who earned a bachelors degree from Grove City College, a masters from Penn State Universitys Graduate School and a doctorate from Columbia Universitys Teacher College, brings his love for learning and his belief in education into the doors of Edgewood each day.
Houseknechts computer is stockpiled with video and audio clips from the Classical Café, lunchtime performances organized, produced and performed by students, as well as The Edgewood Media Club and the Edgewood Historical Society Club. All three organizations were formed under his watch.
"We are trying to create a purpose for learning and an audience for kids for their work, to try to make what happens in school like life, Houseknecht said. We have a lot of stuff now that we are doing that we weren't doing before. Collectively all those things are changing the school.
Houseknecht tells stories of the entrepreneurial spirit he has fostered amongst Edgewood students.
"I gave a member of the Classical Café stage crew an assistant but the stage crew member was upset because he did not have enough work to give the assistant. These are problem that we are working through," said Houseknecht with a smile.
Other students have approached Houseknecht with business ideas, including making designer duct-tape products and selling t-shirts to raise money to help Japan and selling wrist-bands to raise money to defeat Malaria. Houseknecht makes these students compose business planswith help from him of course.
Houseknecht said the original business plan for the t-shirt fundraiser was for making the shirts for $10 and selling them for the same amount.
"We got it down to $5 to make a t-shirt and $10 to buy one," said Houseknecht. "It is legitimate learning through real authentic projects."
Houseknecht, who was a teacher for nine years, became a principal in hopes of widening his scope of influence through his leadership. And that is exactly what Scott Houseknecht has done at Edgewood Elementary School.
What are your favorite things Houseknecht has done for Edgewood?
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