William E. Harner

ACTING Secretary of EDUCATION, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania


Acting Secretary William E. Harner, of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, by virtue of his position, serves as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees.

William E. Harner, Ph.D., was nominated by Governor Tom Corbett to serve as Secretary of Education on effective June 1, 2013.

William E. Harner brings a wide range of education experience to his role as a member of Governor Corbett's cabinet, including serving as superintendent of Cumberland Valley School District, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania; regional superintendent/deputy to the chief executive officer in the School District of Philadelphia; superintendent of Greenville County Schools, South Carolina; principal of Hilton Head High School, Beaufort County School District, South Carolina; and chairman for High School ReDesign in the Recovery School District of New Orleans.

Harner received a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of South Carolina and master's degrees in education supervision and human resources from the University of South Carolina.

In 2009, Harner was the Administrator of the Year for the National Association for Gifted Children.

In 2004, he was selected as the National Administrator of the Year by the Association of School Librarians and was a 2005 Fellow in the Broad Foundation's Urban Superintendents Academy.

In 2007, he was inducted into the South Carolina Lacrosse Hall of Fame for building the first public high school lacrosse program in the state at Hilton Head High School, then adding seven more high school programs as a Superintendent in Greenville.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors at the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center Foundation, the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, and PA Network for Dropout Prevention.

A 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Harner entered the ranks of the U.S. Army as an officer in the infantry. During his 20-year military career, he served in various command and staff positions, including a tour on the staff and faculty at West Point, Secretary of the General Staff at the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and Branch Chief of Policy & Strategy, U.S. Forces Korea in Seoul. In that role, Harner served as the liaison between the Offices of the Secretary of Defense and Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army after serving as an infantry battalion commander and receiving the Legion of Merit, the military's highest award for service.

Harner is a 1974 graduate of Cheltenham High School in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Harner is married to the former Lindsley Wickham. They have two children both serving in the U.S. Army.

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