He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a degree in general engineering. He went on to serve 20 years on active duty, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. His service included three years on the staff and faculty at West Point, including a year as aide de camp to the Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy. He also served as Chief of the Policy & Strategy Branch, US Forces Korea in Seoul, and as an infantry battalion commander. Upon retirement he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the nation’s highest military award for service.
Harner holds masters degrees in Educational Leadership and Human Resources as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from the University of South Carolina.
Harner is in his 16th year as a transformational leader in public education, having served as middle and high school principal, and superintendent of schools for nine years. Prior to a brief stint as the Secretary of Education for Pennsylvania, Harner served as the Superintendent for Cumberland Valley School District, he earned a reputation for creating student-centered data-driven culture, increasing college readiness by 17 percent and reducing the annual dropout rate by over 70 percent. While at CV, they developed and implemented the International Baccalaureate programme, Project Lead the Way and US Army’s JROTC programs, and re-vitalized the Agricultural Science/FFA curriculum. CV doubled Advanced Placement courses offerings to 29, quadrupling student participation in AP with an 82 percent exam pass rate, and increased annual student AP Scholars from 38 to 203 students. By successfully raising rigor, CV was recognized by US News and World Report as having one of America’s Best High Schools for gains in student achievement and college readiness earning the Silver Award. Also, the College Board recognized CVSD as an AP Honor Roll District three years in a row.
Dr. Harner has been recognized as the National Administrator of the Year by the American Association for School Librarians (2004) and National Association for Gifted Children (2009). He has given workshops, presentations, and keynotes, at the local, state, and national levels.