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Head of PA Dept. of Education is leaving his post for new job

Education Secretary Pedro Rivera has been hired to become the next president at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.
Secretary Pedro Rivera anti bullying partnership

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania's top education official is leaving the job as schools grapple with plans to develop and implement pandemic reopening plans. 

The board of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster on Tuesday hired Education Secretary Pedro Rivera to be its next president. 

Governor Tom Wolf says he plans to nominate one of Rivera's top deputies to succeed him. 

Wolf says he'll nominate Noe Ortega, the deputy secretary for post-secondary and higher education. 

Rivera has been part of Wolf's cabinet since the start of his first term more than five years ago. He is a former superintendent at the School District of Lancaster.

Wolf nominated Ortega to replace Rivera, who will continue to serve as Secretary until Oct. 1.

“Noe Ortega has a proven record of advocating for equity and access for all students,” said Wolf. “Recently, Noe has been spearheading Pennsylvania’s efforts to diversify our educator pipeline to make our classrooms better reflect the students we educate, and his expertise will continue to advance the department’s mission of ensuring Pennsylvania’s learners have access to the educational opportunities that will help them succeed.”

Before joining PDE in 2017, Ortega spent eight years at the University of Michigan, where he held several academic and administrative roles, including working as the Assistant Director and Senior Research Associate at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and as the Managing Director for the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. 

Ortega also spent nearly a decade working in the areas of financial aid and enrollment management at both public and private universities in Texas and served as a P-16 Specialist for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

He also spent nearly seven years as director of a language institute in Japan where he trained teachers in the area of early childhood language acquisition.

At Stevens, Rivera succeeds outgoing president Dr. William Griscom, who retired in January 2020 after serving the College in that capacity for 23 years.

“The Board of Trustees is extremely excited to announce and welcome Pedro Rivera as the next President of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology,” said Maryann Marotta, Chair of the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Board of Trustees and Vice President of Marotta/Main Architects. “Secretary Rivera is a demonstrable leader with nationally recognized experience to lead the College through these very challenging times for higher education. His experience in education, leadership, and governmental policy align with the needs of the institution, and his strength and drive will serve to advance the mission of the College throughout the Commonwealth, impacting the lives of economically and socially underserved students and their families for generations.”