HOOPES AWARD RECIPIENT
No one is more deserving of the 2020 Janet L. Hoopes award than this year’s recipient,
Penny Moldofsky. Penny served as the Director of Woodlynde’s Lower School for
25 years. She began the Literacy Institute at Woodlynde, an accredited Wilson partner, where she continues to serve as its Director. Her contributions to the education of those with learning disabilities far exceeds the classrooms at the Woodlynde School. Penny’s contribution reaches classrooms across Pennsylvania, Delaware and beyond. She has been an educator for over five decades and has trained over 1,000 professionals to become successful teachers of
children and young adults with a variety of learning styles. Penny attended the University of Pennsylvania where she received an M.S. in Education, Reading and Literacy and a B.S. in Education. During her senior year, Penny was enrolled in a class taught by Irene Gaskins; it changed the trajectory of her life. She joined Irene at Benchmark School a few years later and taught sample lessons for teachers stressing strategies for building comprehension. It was Irene who awakened Penny to listening to leaders in the field and applying their research to practice. Penny
was asked to consult at the Woodlynde School and as fate would have it that advisory role became a full-time position as Head of their Lower School, including admissions, organization of the summer program and eventually teacher training. Penny, always a lifelong learner, strove to find the best instructional material to serve her students.
Penny is a Wilson® Credentialed Trainer for the Wilson Reading System and a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner®. Penny has served as a member of the PBIDA Board and it was through her encouragement, determination and hard work that Woodlynde School hosted the PBIDA annual fall conference for two consecutive years. She has been asked to speak at national conferences such as the International Dyslexia Association and the National Association of Independent Schools, and she received the “Take the Lead” Award from the Girl Scouts of America.
Penny brings the science of reading to life and is the teacher students talk about as having had a
pivotal role in igniting their belief in themselves and in their ability to learn. Penny was motivated by
a treasured mentor, her aunt Ruth Wolk, a reading specialist in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts,
where the majority of students were at the poverty level and struggling in reading. At her funeral,
many of her now-grown students told Penny, “Mrs. Wolk saved my life, she taught me to read, but
she also taught me to work hard every day.” Penny, like Aunt Ruth, is committed to her students with
significant reading challenges. She provides lessons that are clear but supportive, encourages hard
work and laughter, and, most importantly, never gives up on a child. Penny has taken these lessons a
step further: as a teacher trainer, she brings them into classrooms everywhere. Those near and far
who have had the pleasure of knowing and learning from Penny are forever changed by her support
The Hoopes Award was established in 1993 in honor of Dr. Janet L. Hoopes, who was the first
recipient of the award. Dr. Hoopes was a founding member of PBIDA and also a founding board
member of Hill Top Preparatory School for students with Learning Differences. This prestigious
award is presented at PBIDA’s Annual Fall Conference to an individual or individuals in Pennsylvania
or Delaware who has made a significant contribution to the education of those with learning differences.
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