Pedro A. Rivera
Pennsylvania Secretary of Education
Pedro A. Rivera was appointed as the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education by Governor Tom Wolf and confirmed unanimously by the state Senate in 2015. Currently, Rivera also serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a nonpartisan organization of public officials who head state departments of elementary and secondary education. As President, he focuses on promoting equity in education and elevating the ways states can improve the conditions for learning to ensure all students have access to the supports they need to be successful inside the classroom.
Rivera brings extensive experience in public education to his leadership roles. Prior to his appointment to Governor Wolf’s Cabinet, he served as superintendent of the School District of Lancaster. Additionally, he was a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and executive director for the School District of Philadelphia, as well as a staff member with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. In September 2014, he was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for his efforts to transform urban education with his holistic approach to student success – one of ten recipients nationwide to receive the prestigious honor.
As Secretary of Education, he has traveled the Commonwealth meeting with educators, administrators, and students on the Schools That Teach tour, discussing their priorities and needs, and taking those insights back to Harrisburg. Under his leadership, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has engaged thousands of stakeholders – including educators, parents, policymakers, business and industry leaders, higher education officials, and advocates – to inform the Department’s work on issues like reforming graduation requirements and improving school accountability measures. Through establishing the PA Future Ready Index and crafting Pennsylvania’s Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan, Rivera has continuously shown his commitment to educational equity. Rivera also spearheaded the creation of the Superintendent’s Academy, a first-of-its-kind, two-year professional development program designed for district leaders serving in high poverty areas, urban and rural, across the state.
Rivera is a first-generation college graduate and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The Pennsylvania State University, a Master's degree in Education Administration from Cheyney University, and his Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility from Arcadia University.
Rivera was raised in the Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia and resides in Lancaster with his wife Erika, son Lucas, and daughter Elena.