Pennsylvania Department of Education

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is the executive department of the state charged with publicly funded preschool, K-12 and adult educational budgeting, management and guidelines. As the state education agency, its activities are directed by the governor appointed Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education. The agency is headquartered at 333 Market Street in Harrisburg.[1] The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania, over 170 public charter schools (2019), Career and Technology Centers/Vocational Technical schools, 29 Intermediate Units, the education of youth in State Juvenile Correctional Institutions, and publicly funded preschools (Head Start and PreK Counts Keystone Stars). In 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Education employs approximately 500 persons.[2]

Pennsylvania Department of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education Logo.svg
Agency overview
JurisdictionState government of Pennsylvania
Headquarters333 Market Street, Harrisburg, Dauphin County
Employees500 (2019)
Agency executive

The agency maintains a database of all education institutions in the Commonwealth with associated data. EdNA [1] These entities include school districts and their schools, intermediate units, area vocational technical schools, charter schools, nonpublic and private schools, higher education institutions and more.


Following passage and signing of the Free School Law on April 1, 1834, the Secretary of the Commonwealth acted as head of the Common School System until 1837. In that year a separate Department of Schools was created with a Superintendent of Common Schools as its chief officer. In 1873, the title was changed to Superintendent of Public Instruction, and greater responsibilities were assigned to that official and to the Department. In 1969, the name of the Department of Public Instruction was changed to the Department of Education, with the title of Superintendent of Public Instruction changed to the Secretary of Education. It previously ran the Pennsylvania State Board of Censors.[3]


The Department has broad discretionary powers in both the development and administration of educational policies which enhance the educational experience and quality in Pennsylvania. The Department also works as an ongoing study of the educational process within the state, conducting studies and programs designed to evaluate specific needs or qualities of the system. In doing so, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will recommend changes and improvements to the Governor, the Board of Education, and the General Assembly.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education also oversees policies of public libraries, academic libraries, and the State Library of Pennsylvania located in Harrisburg. It provides policy of equal opportunity in the educational system, with special regard to nonpublic education and state policy of education. It is within the Pennsylvania Department of Education's mission to collaborate with other state educational departments in an effort to create a cohesive and dynamic learning environment.

Offices and sub groupsEdit

The Pennsylvania Department of Education operates several offices and participates in many state related agencies/Boards.[4]

  • Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education
  • Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) in association with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
  • Office of Commonwealth Libraries
  • State Board of Education [2]
  • Professional Standards and Practices Commission
  • Office of Food and Nutrition Programs [3]
  • Special Education Advisory Panel
  • State Boards of Private Schools

Power LibraryEdit

Power Library is the online portal to Pennsylvania libraries, a service of the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education.[5]

Secretaries of EducationEdit


  • Noe Ortega (2020–present)
  • Pedro Rivera (2015-2020)
  • Carolyn C. Dumaresq (Confirmed August 2013)[7]
  • Ronald Tomalis (Confirmed April 2011)
  • Joe Torsella (Confirmed August 2008)
  • Gerald L. Zahorchak (Confirmed February 2006)
  • Francis V. Barnes (Confirmed November 2004/Resigned June 2005)
  • Vicki L. Phillips (Confirmed March 2003/Resigned April 2004)
  • Charles B. Zogby (Confirmed June 2001/Resigned January 2003)
  • Eugene W. Hickok (Confirmed May 1995/Resigned March 2001)
  • Jane Carroll (acting) 1995
  • Donald M. Carroll Jr. 1989-1995
  • Carl S. (Terry) Dellmuth 1989
  • Thomas K. Gilhool 1987-1989
  • William Logan 1987
  • D. Kay Wright 1986-1987
  • Margaret A. Smith 1984-1986
  • Robert C. Wilburn 1983-1984
  • Robert G. Scanlon 1979-1983
  • Caryl M. Kline 1977-1979
  • Robert N. Hendershot 1977
  • John Pittenger 1972-1976
  • David Kurtzman 1969-1971

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Department Information", Pennsylvania Department of Education. Retrieved on April 2, 2010.
  2. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Employment Opportunities, March 2014
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2014). "About PDE".
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 21, 2014). "Pennsylvania Department of Education Departmental Offices".
  5. ^ "About". Power Library. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  6. ^ "Pennsylvania Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  7. ^ "About Secretary Dumaresq". Pennsylvania Department of Education. Retrieved September 19, 2013.

External linksEdit