Pennsylvania Secretaries Cortés and Rivera named among 2015 Delaware Valley's Most Influential Latinos

Nov 20, 2015, 11:46 ET from Pennsylvania Department of State from ,Pennsylvania Department of Education

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera and Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés have been named among the 2015 Delaware Valley's Most Influential Latinos by the Most Influential Latinos Foundation, Impacto Latin Newspaper, and PHLDiversity.

"Congratulations to Secretaries Cortés and Rivera on this exciting honor. I am proud to have these distinguished public servants as members of my cabinet and Pennsylvania is well-served by their experience and their commitment to making our Commonwealth stronger," Governor Tom Wolf said.

For the past 10 years, the Most Influential Latinos Foundation, Impacto Latin Newspaper and PHLDiversity have recognized individuals who have made great contributions to the Delaware Valley's Latino community and the community at large.

Secretary Cortés currently serves as the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. He was nominated by Governor Tom Wolf in January 2015 and confirmed by the Senate in June. He previously served as Secretary of State from 2003 to 2010.  In his previous tenure, Cortés was the first confirmed Latino Cabinet member and the longest serving Secretary of State in Pennsylvania history.

Cortés began his Commonwealth government career in 1993 as a caseworker with the Department of Public Welfare. Subsequently, he worked as a recruiter and attorney with the State Civil Service Commission and served as executive director of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs for two Pennsylvania governors. Prior to his most recent appointment, Cortés was a partner with the law firm of Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer and Kupersmith.

Cortés has been the recipient of numerous awards, including: Hispanic Business Magazine's 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States; the National Notary Association's 50 Most Influential People in Notarization in the Last 50 Years; American Lawyer Media Lawyer on the Fast Track; Central Penn Business Journal's top Forty Under 40 business leaders in Central Pennsylvania; and The Pennsylvania State University Alumni Fellow, the most prestigious award given by the Penn State Alumni Association.

Cortés earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration from the University of Massachusetts, a Master of Public Administration from Penn State University, and a Juris Doctor Penn State Dickinson School of Law.  He also holds Doctorate Degrees honoris causa from King's College, Harcum College, and Widener University School of Law.

Secretary Rivera was nominated by Governor Wolf to serve as the Secretary of Education in January 2015 and was confirmed by the Senate in June. In addition to leading the department, Rivera's duties as secretary include serving on the Penn State Board of Trustees, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors.

Before serving as education secretary, Rivera was superintendent of The School District of Lancaster from 2008-2015. Before serving as superintendent, Rivera was a classroom teacher, staff member with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, assistant principal, principal, and executive director for the School District of Philadelphia.

Among his most prestigious honors was being recognized by the White House in September 2014 as a Champion of Change for his efforts to transform urban education – one of 10 recipients nationwide to receive the distinction.

Rivera is a first-generation college graduate and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The Pennsylvania State University, a Master's degree in Education Administration from Cheyney University, and his Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility from Arcadia University.

The award ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. November 20 at the Hilton Philadelphia Hotel at Penn's Landing.

MEDIA CONTACT: Adriana Arvizo, 717-772-2146



SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State; Pennsylvania Department of Education