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Departmental Offices

Executive Office


List of Chief Counsel
Staff Attorneys

Policy to Avoid Commingling of Functions in Administrative Proceedings  (PDF)


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 - Works to foster communication between the agency, the members and staff of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Governor's Office. The office staff 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 - 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.

Board of Trustees

Advisory Council on Library Development - 14 members; 12 appointed by the Governor, who designates one as chairman; Secretary of Education and State Librarian are ex officio members. Members receive reimbursement for expenses.

Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University - 32 members. Six members appointed by the Governor; ex officio members are the Governor, President of the University, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Environmental Resources.

Commonwealth Trustees Boards - Temple University, Lincoln University and the University of Pittsburgh, 36 members (Lincoln University, 39 members); four appointed by the Governor, eight appointed by General Assembly; ex officio members; the Governor, the Secretary of Education, the Mayor of Philadelphia (Temple), Mayor of Pittsburgh (University of Pittsburgh) or President of Lincoln University. Remainder of trustees are elected annually under such terms and conditions as may be provided by the universities' by-laws.

Council of Trustees of the State Universities - Reviews all matters pertaining to the welfare of each respective institution, recommends to the Governor through the Board of Governors the appointment of a president, and reviews and forwards a budget to the Board of Governors. The council members are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. A student member sits on each council.

Professional Standards and Practices Commission - 13 members appointed by the Governor. It advises the State Board of Education on issues related to teacher preparation and certification. The Commission is also responsible for setting standards of professional practices for teachers and for adjudicating educator misconduct cases.

Special Education Advisory Panel - 15 members appointed by the Governor. The panel advises the Secretary of Education and the Department of Education on met and unmet needs in the education of exceptional persons. The panel is mandated by federal law. Members receive reimbursement for expenses.

State Boards of Private Schools - The State Board of Private Academic Schools is comprised of nine members, appointed by the Secretary of Education. This Board governs private K-12 academic schools.  The State Board of Private Licensed Schools is comprised of 15 members, 14 of whom are appointed by the Secretary of Education, and one representative of the Office of Attorney General. This Board governs postsecondary private trade schools.  Members receive per diem allowance and reimbursement for expenses.