During her formative years, Prudence Malava Peya was inspired to pursue education in light of her own active imagination. Often pretending to engage in school activities as a young child, she attended Duquesne University upon graduating from Aliquippa High School. Remaining with her alma mater for her undergraduate and graduate education, she received a Bachelor of Science in education in 1965, a Master of Education in special education in 1967, and a Master of Science in elementary education, administration and supervision in 1977.
Ms. Peya was a student teacher with the Montour Area School District in 1964 and was consequently hired as a permanent substitute teacher for a semester in 1965. She was hired by Central Area School District in Monaca, Pennsylvania, as a teacher, where she taught for 34 years. She escalated to the rank of gifted support teacher at the Center Area School District in 1977, remaining in that role until 1997. During this time, she also coordinated the Gifted Education Program for grades K-8 in the school district from 1977 to 1998 and was the director of special education from 1995 to 1998. Notably, Ms. Peya was the first teacher to implement an individual education program plan for gifted students in Beaver County. She frequently spent time visiting her students’ parents for conferences in their own homes.
Ms. Peya was a local coach for the Odyssey of the Mind Program from 1985 to 1997, as well as a sponsor of the Beaver County Academic Games League between 1988 and 1997. A prolific writer, she compiled “A Syllabus to Facilitate the Operation of a Gifted/Talented Program” in 1986 and a handbook to promote her gifted education program in 1987, which was aptly titled, “Instruction Areas Appropriate for Gifted Students.” Concurrently, Ms. Peya authored an article, “Personality Boxes,” in Challenge Magazine in 1986, for which she was revered and received recognition from her readers.
A former president of the Beaver County Gifted Teachers Consortium between 1993 and 1994, Ms. Peya was also a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Children. She was a past president of the PA Delta chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. To attest to her success, she received the Elementary Gifted Teacher of the Year State Award from the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education in 1984 and was honored by the local PTA and the Greek Catholic Union on the district level in 1983 and 1984, respectively. She was nominated on three occasions as Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, sponsored by the State Department of Education, in 1983, 1984 and 1992, as well as for the “Thanks to Teachers” Award from the radio station KDKA in 1991. Ms. Peya has been highlighted in several editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in the East and Who’s Who of American Women. Ms. Peya ultimately retired after a rewarding career in 1999.
Ms. Peya is a lifelong active member of St. George Byzantine Catholic Church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. She maintains her membership in the PA Delta Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa.