Pennsylvania Education Secretary-designee Dr. Khalid N. Mumin (Photo courtesy Gov-elect Josh Shapiro Transition.).
With days to go before he takes office, Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro continued to fill his cabinet on Monday, naming a suburban Philadelphia school superintendent to run the state Department of Education.
The Democrat picked Dr. Khalid N. Mumin, who most recently served as superintendent of the Lower Merion school district in Montgomery County, as his education secretary. Mumin, who began his career as a classroom teacher in Scotland, Franklin County in 1997, also has served as superintendent of the Reading public schools.
Shapiro, now the state’s elected attorney general, also named his choices to run the state Department of Labor & Industry, which oversees workforce development, as well as unemployment compensation, and the Office of Administration, an executive branch office with a broad, managerial mandate.
Nancy Walker, who has served as the head of the Fair Labor Section in the attorney general’s office since 2017, has been nominated to oversee the Labor & Industry Department. Neil Weaver, currently the acting secretary of the state Department of Community & Economic Development, has been picked to oversee the Office of Administration, Shapiro’s transition team said in a statement.
The appointments come just days after Shapiro announced that he’d chosen former Philadelphia Commissioner Al Schmidt, who faced threats for defending the integrity of the 2020 election against former President Donald Trump and his supporters, to serve as Pennsylvania’s top election official.
In that statement, Shapiro said he’s ready to work with all three of his new cabinet picks “to create real opportunities for our children, build an economy that works for everyone, improve our schools, and lead the Commonwealth’s more than 75,000 employees.
“With these accomplished public servants in my cabinet, we will be ready to get to work to meet this moment and move our Commonwealth forward,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro, who takes the reins from current Gov. Tom Wolf on Jan. 17, made bolstering public education one of the focal points of his run for the top spot last fall, even as he voiced support for a school choice initiative that could have a profound impact on Philadelphia’s public schools, Chalkbeat Philadelphia reported.
Notably, Shapiro also will take office as the state’s education community awaits a ruling in a landmark lawsuit challenging the way the commonwealth pays for public education.
“For over 25 years, I have served as a teacher, dean of students, principal, and school superintendent – and I know firsthand what it takes to move our education system forward,” Mumin said in the transition team’s statement. “I look forward to working with the governor-elect to fully fund our schools, make our students’ mental health a priority, and empower parents and guardians to ensure their children receive a quality education.”
Mumin holds a doctoral degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania; a master’s degree from Penn State University; a bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University, and an associate’s degree from Northeastern Christian Junior College, according to Shapiro’s transition team.
In a statement, the commonwealth’s largest teachers’ union called Mumin an “outstanding choice” to lead one of the largest and most expensive agencies in state government.
“Khalid Mumin has spent his entire career teaching and serving students. He is an extraordinary leader and a committed educator, and there is no doubt that his talents, experience, and enthusiasm will make him an excellent secretary,” Rich Askey, the president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, said.
Mumin also has “unique experience leading both an urban, financially challenged school district in Reading, and a well-established, suburban school district in Lower Merion,” Askey continued. “This experience ensures that he understands the challenges that different kinds of school districts and their students face and that he’ll be able to hit the ground running.”
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