Pedro Rivera, superintendent of the School District of Lancaster, will be sworn-in Tuesday as acting Pennsylvania education secretary.
The education secretary is expected to have a high profile in this administration, given governor-elect Tom Wolf’s promise to boost funding for schools.
“What excites me most… is that we have a governor who has committed himself to trying,” said Rivera Tuesday. “We have a governor who has been public in saying he’s going to work and walk across the aisle to best serve the children of Pennsylvania.”
Rivera is a product of urban schools. He was born and raised in Philadelphia, and attended private Catholic school, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He has worked as a teacher, principal, and assistant principal in the city’s public school system.
He said Lancaster’s diversity helps him understand challenges faced by schools across the commonwealth.
“Lancaster is really a microcosm of what we see now across the United States,” said Rivera. “This year 80 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced [price] lunch. Almost 20 percent of our students were English language learners. Close to 19 percent of our students were students who had a specific special need. Three percent of the kids are refugee students.”