The Governor-Elect announced his final two choices: Pedro Rivera for Secretary of the Department of Education and Kathy Manderino for Secretary of the Department of Labor & Industry.
“Pennsylvania schools are struggling. My top priority is making sure our schools have the resources to teach our children the skills they need to succeed,” said Governor-elect Tom Wolf. “Pedro Rivera is nationally recognized for his efforts to improve urban education, and he will work with me to build a strong public education system and get Pennsylvania back on track.”
“Under Pedro’s leadership, The School District of Lancaster’s graduation rates have increased and students have made gains in state assessment scores. The district was also recently recognized by the Washington Post for having one of the top-twenty high schools for academic rigor in the United States. Pedro has also worked to remove barriers to students’ success by implementing a community schools model, which provides free breakfast and lunch, as well as eyeglasses, dental care, and medical services. In addition, as a result of Pedro’s foresight, the district’s fund balance has grown by millions. I look forward to working with him to adequately and fairly fund our schools, which are the foundation to a sustainable, long-term economy in Pennsylvania,” Wolf added.
“If we are going to rebuild Pennsylvania’s middle class, we have to start by fully funding education and training individuals for the jobs that exist and the industries we want to grow and attract to the commonwealth,” Wolf continued. “Kathy Manderino has extensive experience in education and human services, and has also served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Kathy will work with me to reduce unemployment, provide adequate job training, and improve Pennsylvania’s economic development and business climate. We must create a modern economy that competes on a national and global level, and offers sustainable jobs with living wages. Pennsylvania’s job training programs need to be improved so we are providing people with the necessary skills to find sustainable, long-term employment. Kathy will work alongside me to set the table for economic growth across Pennsylvania.”
The transition team provided the following background information on the pair:
Pedro Rivera – secretary, Department of Education. Under Pedro Rivera’s leadership at The School District of Lancaster, which serves approximately 11,500 students, of which 17 percent are learning English, the district has made important strides. From rising graduation rates to steady gains in reading proficiency scores at all levels – with notable improvement in math, science, and writing – as well as high-performing student participation in programs aimed at college success, the district has greatly improved education at all levels. Rivera has also led the development and implementation of a new PreK-12 curriculum, an aggressive professional development plan, and innovative teacher observation tools. Since taking over the district, which has a $160 million budget, Rivera has increased its fund balance from $4 million to $9 million. Rivera worked his way up from a variety of positions before becoming superintendent of The School District of Lancaster. While working in the Philadelphia School District, Rivera worked as principal, assistant principal, classroom teacher, executive director, and human resources director. In September of last year, Rivera was honored by the White House as one of 10 Hispanic leaders around the country for his extraordinary work in education.
Pedro Rivera has been the superintendent of The School District of Lancaster since 2008, a district that serves approximately 11,500 students and educates approximately 1,000 homeless students during the course of a year. 17% of the district’s students are learning English, and more than 38 languages are spoken throughout their buildings. In his role as Superintendent, Mr. Rivera and his team developed and implemented a new PreK-12 curriculum, an aggressive professional development plan, and innovative teacher observation tools. Under his leadership, The School District of Lancaster has made important strides from rising graduation rates to steady gains in reading proficiency scores in schools across the district, and high-performing student participation in programs that will help them succeed in college. Prior to his time in Lancaster, Rivera spent 13 years in the Philadelphia Public Schools in various capacities, including principal, assistant principal, classroom teacher, and human resources director. Rivera was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the Huntington Park section of the city. His grandmother came to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico for a job in a sewing factory. Rivera is also actively involved in the community, serving as a board member of the United Way, the Economic Development Corporation, and the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, as well as president of the Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools. Rivera earned his bachelor of science in secondary Spanish education from Penn State and his master’s in education administration from Cheyney University. Pedro received his superintendent’s letter of eligibility from Arcadia University.
Kathy Manderino – secretary, Department of Labor and Industry. Kathy Manderino is currently running a campaign to establish a fair funding formula for Pennsylvania’s public schools, and prior to that, she was the senior vice president of Intercommunity Action, Inc, a human services agency with more than 200 employees and annual revenue of $20 million. Prior to that, Manderino served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for 18 years. As head of the Department of Labor & Industry, Manderino will play a lead role in helping unemployed individuals get back to work by providing resources for job seekers to get job training and promoting economic development across the commonwealth. Manderino will also work with the governor to strengthen the middle class by creating jobs that offer sustainable employment and living wages.
Kathy Manderino is currently the campaign manager of The Campaign for Fair Education Funding, a broad-based statewide coalition formed to advocate for a fair and adequate public education funding formula for public education in Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Campaign, Kathy served as senior vice president of Intercommunity Action, Inc., a community-based organization providing services and housing to people with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health needs, and to older adults. She served for 18 years as a Pennsylvania State Representative. Before being elected to public office, Kathy was a private practice attorney in Philadelphia. Her early career included work with two labor-management organizations. She is active in both the community and the legal profession serving on numerous boards and committees, including The Food Trust, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court IOLTA, and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Kathy resides in Philadelphia.