John Gensic, a freshman Biology teacher at Penn High School won the award for “PHM Teacher of the Year.”

Gensic originally didn’t realize that the crowd gathered in the lobby was for him, and walked through before being stopped by some of his colleagues. When PHM Schools Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker announced that Gensic had won the award, Gensic commented with a laugh, “I do not have anything prepared.”

This is Gensic’s third year here teaching at Penn, but 11th overall, having taught at St Adalbert and New Prairie before coming to Penn. He has received praise from students and staff alike. Rachel Fry, the S.T.E.M academy leader, said of Gensic, “He does so much above and beyond what’s expected,” Fry said.

When asked about winning the award, Gensic said, “Winning this award has been really humbling and exciting… hardly anything I do in my classroom is my own.”

Earlier this month, Gensic was selected as a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation’s highest honor math, science and computer science teachers. Dr. Thacker has expressed confidence that Gensic will go on to win more awards in the future.



By Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty teaches English and Mass Media Studies at Penn High School. He advises the Penn News Network and manages the PNN Studio and news room. For more information, navigate your browser to