Home > Governor Wolf Appoints Karen Farmer White as State Board of Education Chair

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Governor Tom Wolf has appointed Karen Farmer White of Pittsburgh as Chair of the State Board of Education, effective immediately. Ms. Farmer White, who will be the first African-American chair of the board, has been instrumental in advancing educational equity and access in the commonwealth, including significant components of the state’s academic standards.

“Karen Farmer White is one of Pennsylvania’s most respected educational leaders and I look forward to her contributions to the board as we continue to make progress to ensure our young people are career ready to become the leaders of tomorrow,” said Governor Tom Wolf.

Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera echoed these sentiments, saying, “Karen Farmer White has been a champion and advocate for students in her hometown of Pittsburgh, and for every hometown across the commonwealth. Both her personal and professional endeavors reflect her tireless efforts to improve opportunities for all.”

The State Board works closely with the Department of Education, state policymakers, and educators to review, develop, and adopt policies that govern both basic and higher education in Pennsylvania. Ms. Farmer White is a two-term member of the State Board of Education and the Board’s Council of Basic Education, and a former vice president of education at WQED Pittsburgh Multimedia and executive director of the Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise. She previously served as the managing director of Mesirow Financial Corporation and has also held administrative and faculty positions at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Ms. Farmer White is a graduate of The Leadership Pittsburgh Program and has served on numerous community boards including Seton Hill University, Point Park University, the FISA Foundation, and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) Foundation. She is a former member of  The August Wilson Center board and is a current and founding member of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. Ms. Farmer White attended the doctoral program at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earlier earned a master of public administration and a B.A.

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