small classes,
big opportunities

From Fortune 500 Executives to NASA Scientists to Celebrity Chefs, the public school systems in Yates County consistently prepare students to be successful in whatever profession they choose.  Small class sizes with caring teachers help students succeed in the classroom. Students are also encouraged to participate in as many extracurricular programs as possible.  In fact, most students participate in multiple activities all year belonging on multiple sports teams while also taking part in school plays, musical concerts and debate clubs. 

The combination of excellent teachers and varied programming consistently produce well rounded students that are prepared to excel after graduation. 

Education Opportunities for All Ages

In Yates County, we have opportunities for a great education at every stage in life, from traditional daycare programs to private academies to esteemed opportunities for higher education.


Penn Yan and Dundee School Districts offer programming that focuses on providing children with fun and empowering opportunities, including three seasons of school sports, theater programs, and music programs. Some of the programming that students enjoy include the following:

Project Lead the Way: Project Lead the Way is a hands-on learning experience in computer science, engineer and biomedical sciences that empowers students to solve real-world challenges and inspires them to re-imagine how they see themselves.  Penn Yan Academy (PYA) has partnered with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Missouri University of Science and Technology whereby PYA students are able to earn credits at these universities through the successful completion of the courses.

Engineering: As part of Project Lead the Way, PYA partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where PYA students can earn credit from RIT in various engineering courses including:

  • Design and Drawing for Production

  • Digital Electronics

  • Principals of Engineering

  • Computer Integrated Manufacturing

  • Civil Engineering and Architecture

Bio-Medical Science: Students will be given the opportunity to earn college credit from Missouri University of Science and Technology by completing the following courses:

  • Principals of Bio Medicine

  • Human Body Systems

  • Medical Interventions

Gemini Program: Offered in partnership with Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC), PYA students have the opportunity to earn college credit in over two dozen courses while still in high school!  All courses are transferable to all SUNY colleges and many private institutions! PYA Gemini courses include:

College Psychology / AP U.S. History (6 cr) / College Government / Microsoft Apps / Pre-Calculus / Business Organization / French 4 & 5 / AP Calculus / College Chemistry (8 cr) / Spanish 4 & 5 / English 101 & 102 / COM 110: Speech / College Health / College Biology (8 cr) Art History / AP European History / College Physics (8 cr) / College Economics / Mathematics of Money / Human Body Systems / AP Statistics / College Environmental Science (4 cr) / Accounting (4 cr)

Discover Yates: Discover Yates is a program created by the FLEDC in connection with the local school districts where high school students get out of the classroom and experience hands-on learning from local manufacturing and trades related businesses.  Students have leaned about Geo-thermal installations, advanced machining, tool and die making, automobile manufacturing and heavy equipment operations among many other industries. 


Alumni Success Story

Peter Spike / PYA Graduate

As General Manager, Delaware North Companies at Target Field (Home of the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club), I am responsible for all hospitality and retail operations within the Ballpark. Target Field is home for the Minnesota Twins with a maximum capacity of 38,900 fans. My staff of 1,500 Manager and Associates take care of 2 million guests annually.

Growing up in Penn Yan, I loved the sense of community. I really miss the beauty of the area and the changing seasons you miss in a big city or other areas of the country. What I enjoyed most about attending PYA was knowing all your classmates and teachers by name. You weren’t just a number and there were always many activities to keep you busy!
— Peter Spike - General Manager, Delaware North Companies, Target Field
Jeff Simmons.png

Alumni Success Story

Jeff Simmons / PYA Graduate

As president and CEO, I provide overall strategic direction for our more than 5,800 employees located in about 45 different countries. Elanco is a $3.2 billion a year company providing comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health, welfare and food animal production with 125 brands in 90 countries. We are fortunate to serve one of the most noble customer bases of any industry – farmers and veterinarians. They are innovative, hardworking, humble and visionary people with a focus on continue to improve the way we care for animals and feed people.

I credit my upbringing in the Finger Lakes as instrumental to my personal values and professional drive and development. I was raised in an entrepreneurial environment in the Penn Yan area on a vineyard operation. My brother and I started our first business at the ages of 13 and 15, where we got a loan and bought our first vineyard. From there the ventures grew, our learnings expanded from agriculture to finance and from community engagement to taking care of the environment. Penn Yan Academy created a great education, but even more the smaller classroom size enabled personal relationships that are still memorable and instrumental to my growth. Teachers are vested and part the community and care for you completely. I played any sport I had an interest in and was heavily engaged in both basketball and running that are life passions still today. The FFA organization changed the trajectory of my high school years and gave me a vision for the bigger aspects of agriculture beyond the finger lakes. This happened in room 316 at the end of the hall in PY Academy with Mr. Giles and my classmates. I competed in speaking contests, small business projects and went on to compete regionally, nationally and travel internationally. This only was possible because of a personal relationship and investment by people that knew me, my heart, skills and my family. My kids are now in a bigger school in Carmel Indiana and not able to get this up close encouragement and such diverse experiences.
— Jeff Simmons - President and CEO, Elanco

Higher Education

Yates County is surrounded by 33 colleges and universities representing 187,000 students! These institutions include Keuka College, located on Keuka Lake just outside of Penn Yan. Keuka College is a four-year residential college with a focus on liberal arts, offers students experiential learning on a beautiful campus. Other world class universities within a one hour drive include Cornell University, Syracuse University, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and University of Rochester.

public library - Penn Yan, New York

public library - Penn Yan, New York

Keuka College - keuka park, ny   Photo COURTESY of Keuka College

Keuka College - keuka park, ny

Photo COURTESY of Keuka College

family stroll - Penn Yan, New York

family stroll - Penn Yan, New York