Philip Martell Receives STEAM Community Leader Award

Loretto, Pa., April 20, 2023–Mr. Philip Martell, River Valley School District Superintendent, was presented with Saint Francis University's inaugural STEAM Community Leader Award at the University's School of STEAM Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. The STEAM Community Leader Award honors an educator or administrator for making a tremendous positive impact in the lives of students, teachers, and the community through workforce development and technology-centered educational initiatives.


"The School of STEAM at Saint Francis University presents this award to Mr. Phil Martell and his leadership team at River Valley School District to celebrate their creation of a STEAM Academy that provides transformational and real-world experiences for students while partnering with business, industry, and the community to build an innovative workforce," said Dr. Peter Skoner, Dean of the Saint Francis University School of STEAM.


"Mr. Martell brings innovation and a fresh perspective to education in today's ever-changing climate. He clearly understands the new paradigm required for success in the classroom that transitions and prepares students for their future careers, whether college-bound or not. He is an exceptional leader worthy of the Saint Francis University STEAM Community Leader Award," said Dr. Frank Montecalvo,  Vice President for Innovative Partnerships & Student Development at Saint Francis University.


The award acknowledges Mr. Martell’s contributions to advancing the field of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education and making an impact in the classroom and beyond. The River Valley STEAM Academy provides innovative programming that prepares students for highly technical careers in high-demand fields, including Cybersecurity, Esports, Electrical Occupations, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitative Therapy. Next year the STEAM Academy will add programs in Welding, Powerline, Teacher Preparation, and Pathways to Health Professions.


“I am honored to be recognized as the STEAM Community Leader Award recipient. This is not just an individual award; it is a team effort to serve the students and community of the River Valley School District. We owe it to our students to allow them to break down barriers as we make a paradigm shift in public education.  These opportunities provide access to the most recent technological and workforce advancements to serve them in the 21st century.  I want to personally thank the leadership of Saint Francis University for recognizing this shift and the partnership they have provided for the students at the River Valley School District. These partnerships are an important part of creating successful career pathways that meet the workforce demands,” said Mr. Philip Martell, River Valley School District Superintendent.


“Mr. Martell works to ensure colleges and businesses in our area are aware of the changes we are implementing at the district. It’s exciting for our students, staff, and community to have Saint Francis College honor Mr. Martell with this award,” said Rick Harper, President of the River Valley School Board of Directors. 


“Over the past two years, Mr. Martell has greatly impacted the River Valley School District with his workforce development and technology-centered education initiatives.  These programs will provide opportunities for our students to pursue careers in high-demand occupational areas. I look forward to seeing where his vision takes us over the next few years,” said Kathy Muir, River Valley Mathematics Teacher. 


River Valley School District is Indiana County, Pennsylvania's second-largest school district, serving 1,500 students in seven municipalities. The 36-acre Blairsville campus in Burrell Township houses Blairsville Elementary School (K-5), River Valley Middle School (6-8), and River Valley High School (9-12). The Saltsburg campus, located in Conemaugh Township, is home to Saltsburg Elementary School (K-5) and the River Valley Academies at Saltsburg, which houses the River Valley Early Childhood Learning Academy, the River Valley Cyber Academy, and the River Valley STEAM Academy. The River Valley School District is committed to being a high-performance organization focused on outstanding student performance, achievement, and preparation for a lifetime of success. River Valley School District was recently named one of the "Top 55 Performing School Districts in Pennsylvania” by Standard & Poor's.

Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA, is the oldest Catholic-Franciscan college in the United States. Its mission is to help students grow into compassionate, successful professionals through a culture of faith, generosity, respect, discovery, and joy. Saint Francis University offers traditional campus-based learning and competitive online and graduate degree offerings.