Executive Office

Office of Chief Counsel

The Office of Chief Counsel is staffed by attorneys appointed by the General Counsel in the Governor's Office. The office provides legal counsel to the Secretary of Education, Deputy Secretaries and other Department officials. It provides legal representation at certain judicial and administrative proceedings; provides opinions on questions of law; reviews contracts and regulations for legality; and provides legal counsel to various Department Boards and Commissions, such as the State Board of Private Academic Schools and the State Charter School Appeal Board.

Office of Government Relations 

The Office if Government Relations  works to foster communication between the agency, the members and staff of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Governor's Office. The office staffs support the Governor's education reform agenda by managing legislative inquiries, formulating positions on education related legislation, monitoring legislative activity at the state and federal levels, and developing and sustaining relationships with the House and Senate Education Committees.  The mission of the office is to provide decision makers with the data, information and analysis they need to craft sound education policy.

State Board of Education 

The State Board of Education is the regulatory and policy- making board for basic and higher education in the Commonwealth. There are 22 members of the State Board. Seventeen members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate for six-year terms, and they serve without pay. Four members of the board are members of the General Assembly. They serve as long as they hold majority and minority chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees. The Chairperson of the Professional Standards and Practices Commission (PSPC) is a non-voting member. Ten members comprise the Council of Basic Education with ten also on the Council of Higher Education, with the chairperson of the board and each council designated by the Governor. The 22 members of the board also serve as the State Board for Vocational Education.

The board has the power and duty to review and adopt regulations that govern educational policies and principles and establish standards governing the educational programs of the Commonwealth, upon recommendation of its councils.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education provides administrative services for the board and the Secretary of Education is the chief executive officer of the board. The State Board of Education is supported by a staff consisting of an executive director and an administrative assistant.

Departmental Offices

  • Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (Pre K-12) 
  • Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
  • Office of Administration
  • Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education
  • Office of Commonwealth Libraries

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education is responsible for statewide development, administration and improvement of public and nonpublic schools that serve students in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The major components are general education, career and technical education, special education, community and student support services and school services. The Office of Elementary and Secondary Educations oversees the following Bureaus:

  • Bureau of Teaching and Learning
  • Bureau of Assessment and Accountability 
  • School Services Office
  • Bureau of Career and Technical Education
  • Bureau of Special Education

Bureau of Special Education

The Director of the Bureau is currently Patricia Hozella.

Bureau of Special Education - Provides professional leadership and management in the provision of special education services and programs. The Bureau administers the special education contingency fund, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds. Other responsibilities include mandated program oversight including on site special education compliance monitoring and special education complaint investigation. The BSE staff provides technical assistance, consultation and advice to local education agencies to support them in meeting the requirements of state and federal special education requirements, and, also work with the U.S. Department of Education regarding federal requirements. 

Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)

The current Deputy Secretary is Barb Minzenberg.

 The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is focused on creating opportunities for the Commonwealth's youngest children to develop and learn to their fullest potential. By developing an effective early childhood education system with high standards for programs and professionals, supports to meet these standards, accountability and community engagement, OCDEL is helping our children, families, teachers and communities reach their promise. Parents, schools, child care providers, Early Intervention, Head Start, libraries, community organizations, and other stakeholders have joined with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to provide high quality early childhood programs and effective family support programs to address challenges faced by families that affect school readiness and academic success. 

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning strives to build a strong foundation for children, starting at birth, through the establishment of a quality education continuum from birth to five. The success of our efforts today will translate into a brighter future for tomorrow, with citizens who are strong, independent, and well-prepared for the future.

OCDEL Bureaus

OCDEL's programs and services span four Bureaus:

  • Bureau of Certification Services 
  • Bureau of Early Intervention Services 
  • Bureau of Early Learning Services 
  • Bureau of Subsidized Child Care Services 

The Pennsylvania Department of Education

Pennsylvania School Districts and Intermediate Units

Pennsylvania School Districts and Intermediate Units

There are 816 public schools in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s public schools are operated and funded under the authority of the General Assembly and local school boards, whose members are locally elected (serve 4 year terms). There are many types of public schools, including elementary, intermediate, middle school, junior high, high, junior-senior high, vocational-technical, and charter schools. Each public school is headed by a school principal, who reports to the superintendent of schools appointed by the board of the school district.[1]

Pennsylvania Department of Education