Pennsylvania Secretary of Education

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Pennsylvania Secretary of Education
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $10,022,217,000
Term limits:  None
Authority:  Pennsylvania Constitution, Article IV, Section 1
Selection Method:  Appointed by Governor
Current Officeholder
Name:  Carolyn Dumaresq
Assumed office:  August 26, 2013
Compensation:  $142,310
Other Pennsylvania Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Pennsylvania Secretary of Education is a state executive position in the Pennsylvania state government. The secretary is appointed by the Governor, with the confirmation of the state senate.

Current officeholder

The current acting officeholder is Carolyn Dumaresq. Serving in this role since August 26, 2013, she was named to fill the vacancy left following William E. Harner's resignation. Dumaresq was serving as the department's executive deputy secretary at the time.[1]

Harner had only served in the role since June 1, 2013. He was appointed to fill the position after Ronald Tomalis left to become Special Advisor to the Governor on Higher Education. Harner was never confirmed by the Senate.[2]


Article IV, Section 1 creates an executive department of the state government that includes a Superintendent of Public Instruction:

The Executive Department of this Commonwealth shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer, and Superintendent of Public Instruction and such other officers as the General Assembly may from time to time prescribe.

In 1834, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Free School Law, designating the Secretary of the Commonwealth as acting head of the Common School System. Three years later, the legislature created both a separate Department of Schools and its chief officer, the Superintendent of Common Schools were created. Since its inception, the precise title for chief of schools in Pennsylvania has undergone several changes, but it has been "Secretary of Education" since 1969.[3]


There are no specific qualifications for the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education.


The Secretary of Education is not elected in Pennsylvania. The Governor nominates a candidate to the state senate, and the senate confirms the nominee by a two-thirds majority before the candidate takes the oath of office.


Article IV, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution grants the governor the power to appoint officers to fill vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in the office of secretary of education, the governor nominates a successor. This nomination must be made to the commonwealth senate within 90 days of the vacancy. The senate must then take action (confirming or not confirming the nomination) within 25 legislative days.[4]


The Secretary of Education works together with the General Assembly, the Governor, and Pennsylvania teachers and school administrators to deliver and improve the public education services available to the children of the Commonwealth.[5]

Click here to view a larger-scale image of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Organizational Chart as of March 1, 2012.


  • The Office of Administration handles all of the administrative and managerial needs of the Department of Education, and is divided into four bureaus:[6]
  • Budget and Fiscal Management
  • Human Resources
  • Management Services
  • Center for Date Quality and Information Technology
  • The Office of Commonwealth Libraries "operates a major research library and leads the development of the state's public, school, academic and special libraries."[7]
  • Bureau of State Library
  • Bureau of Library Development
  • Governor's Advisory Council on Library Development
  • The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (Pre K-12) manages the development, administration, and improvement of public and nonpublic K-12 schools. There are five bureaus within this office:[8]
  • General education
  • Career and technical education
  • Special education
  • Community and student support services
  • School services
  • The Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education works with colleges, universities, and seminaries that grant two-year, four-year, graduate, and professional degrees. The office also administers adult basic education and evaluates professional staff in the commonwealth's public schools.[9]
  • Adult Basic and Literacy Education
  • Postsecondary Education
  • School Leadership and Teacher Quality
  • The Office of Child Development and Early Learning focuses on "creating opportunities" for Pennsylvania's pre-kindergarten children "develop and learn to their fullest potential."[10]

State budget

The budget for the Department of Education in Fiscal Year 2012-2013 was $10,022,217,000.[11]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers


In 2012, the secretary of education was paid an estimated $142,310. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education was paid an estimated $139,931 according to the Council of State Governments.[12]

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

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Contact information

Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717-787-6788
TTY: 717-783-8445
Email: Webmaster
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See also

External links

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