Eric Hagarty, left, and Noe Ortega (Sources: Provided | OUL)
Eric Hagarty, left, and Noe Ortega (Sources: Provided | OUL)

Pennsylvania Education Secretary Noe Ortega will step down at the end of the month, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday.

Ortega's last day will be next Friday, April 29, a statement from the governor's office said. Wolf's Deputy Chief of Staff, Eric Hagerty, will serve as acting secretary.

Part of Hagerty's role as deputy chief of staff involved advancing Wolf's education policies, including the "Level Up" funding program for underfunded schools, charter school regulatory reform and the effort to vaccinate teachers and staff against Covid-19.

Ortega was appointed in 2020, replacing Pedro Rivera. Rivera was the superintendent of School District of Lancaster when he was tapped to take the state job; he stepped down as education secretary to become president of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.

Ortega is the second state department head to announce a departure this week. On Monday, the Wolf administration said acting Health Secretary Keara Klinepeter was resigning ahead of the birth of her first child.

"Noe is a dedicated advocate for all students and I'm grateful for his service to our commonwealth," Wolf said in a statement. "He led the department through unprecedented times, ensuring a safe return to in-person learning and providing access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines."

Ortega's efforts on diversifying the education workforce and expanding post-secondary education access "will undoubtedly continue to impact our learners for years to come," the governor said.

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