The topic at the forefront of any conversation about the future of the Commonwealth continues to be education. Schools across the state are in desperate need of resources, which will require renewed funding. But where will it come from? This panel will bring together various experts to discuss ways in which Pennsylvania can breathe new life into the currently stagnant system.
November 20, 11:00am – 12:45pm
Location: Hall of Flags
Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)
Donna Cooper is the Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), the Greater Philadelphia region’s leading child advocacy organization that influences elected officials by combining useful research, practical solution-oriented policy recommendations with the mobilization of citizens who advance the organization’s work on behalf of children.
Prior to PCCY, Cooper was a senior fellow at respected national think tank, the Center for American Progress, where she led the Center’s research on early childhood education, public infrastructure and was a contributing researcher to the Center’s work to reduce the incidence of poverty.
Cooper served as the Secretary of Policy and Planning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 2003-2010 where she was responsible for the state’s education, public supports, environmental and health care policy. While in that position, Cooper led the development of the state’s Cover All Kids program which expanded access to affordable health care to nearly every child in the state.
Cooper also led the seven year effort to boost funding for public education that increased K-12 funding by over $2 billion and designed the state’s groundbreaking school funding formula which was enacted in 2008. In that position, she also helped launched the state’s model approach to investments in early childhood education and increased funding to make college affordable for low income and working class students while creating one of the nation’s best systems to ensure that community college students can easily transfer credits to four year colleges.
Cooper was the founding Executive Director of Good Schools a grassroots organizing campaign that successfully pushed public education to the top issue in the 2002 race for Governor. Cooper also served as the City of Philadelphia’s Deputy Mayor of Policy and Planning from 1999-2002 where she designed and led the Greater Philadelphia Works Program, one of the nation’s largest and most successful efforts to help single mothers on welfare achieve self-sufficiency.
Cooper has a Master’s degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Center of Government, as well as a master’s degree in Intercultural Management from the School for International Training.
Secondary School Services, Programs and Partnerships
Charles Zogby served as Secretary of the Budget for Pennsylvania under Governor Corbett from 2011 until 2015. The Secretary of the Budget is responsible for the preparation of the Governor’s budget and for its implementation after legislative enactment. He is also responsible for maintaining the commonwealth’s accounting, payroll, debt issuance and financial reporting systems and programs.
Prior to serving as Budget Secretary, Zogby was the Senior Vice President of Education and Policy for K12 Inc., an online school curriculum developer and provider. Zogby helped transform K12 from a small privately held company to a national education provider whose stock is traded on the NYSE.
Before that, Zogby served the PA Commonwealth as the Secretary of Education under Governors Ridge and Schweiker from 2001 to 2003, and as the Director of Governor Ridge’s Policy Office from 1995 to 2001.
Prior to his position as Secretary of Education, Zogby served as director of the Office of Policy for Governor Tom Ridge. There he was responsible for coordinating policy development and initiatives across 18 executive branch agencies. Zogby also helped to put in place several education reforms, including the state’s charter school law, performance-based education funding, a value-added assessment pilot program, and high-stakes academic accountability systems for Pennsylvania school districts.
Zogby holds a B.A. in economics from St. Lawrence University and a J.D. with distinction from the George Mason University School of Law.
PennCAN: The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now
Jonathan Cetel is the executive director of PennCAN: The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now. Previously, Jonathan served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at KIPP Philadelphia Schools and as a community organizer with Good Schools Pennsylvania. He began his career as a middle school teacher in North Philadelphia through the Teach for America program. Jonathan attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelors degree in history and a master’s degree in secondary education. Although he lives in Philadelphia, he spends much of his time in either Harrisburg or Pittsburgh.
President and CEO
Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
As President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Rob Wonderling leads a business advocacy organization of member companies that promotes growth and economic development in the 11-county Greater Philadelphia region.
Rob joined the Chamber in 2009 with an agenda to advance the region’s businesses, particularly by strengthening opportunities for entrepreneurs. His goal reflects his lifelong interest in innovation and economic expansion. He is committed to inclusion and excellence in management of all diverse people irrespective of differences.
He also serves as Chairman of the CEO Council for Growth, the federal advocacy arm of the chamber, comprised of business, higher education, and civic leaders from the tri-state region focused on promoting economic growth and improving the region’s transportation infrastructure, workforce, and culture of entrepreneurship.
Previously, Rob worked for Bentley Systems, Inc., a privately held software firm based in Exton which provides software solutions to engineers and architects on projects ranging from bridges to clean water. Earlier in his career, he worked for Allentown-based Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., in an Air Products division for energy environmental systems that included clean coal and alternative energy products.
From 2002 to 2009, Rob served in the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he first served as Chairman of the Communications and Technology Committee and then as Chairman of the Transportation Committee. He also served in the executive branch of state government in the Ridge-Schweiker administration as Deputy Secretary of Transportation, where he was responsible for improving the operation and efficiency of PennDOT’s 5,000-employee highway maintenance workforce.
In addition, Rob worked closely with the Chamber from 1984 – 91 on issues involving the region’s economic and environmental prosperity as President of the PENJERDEL Council.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alleghany College in 1984 and a Master’s degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. He attended the program for Senior Executives in State Government at Harvard University in 1997.
Rob serves on numerous boards and commissions. He served on the Philadelphia School Reform Commission Search Committee for a new Superintendent of Schools and as the Chair of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Commission on Postsecondary Education. He also serves on the boards of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the Pennsylvania Convention Center Board Authority, the World Trade Center of Philadelphia, Congreso, the Pittsburgh Super Computing Advisory Council, PA Parks and Forest Foundation, and Ursinus College.
In recognition of his community involvement, Rob was awarded the 2011 Service to Humanity Award at the March of Dimes Transportation, Building and Construction luncheon, and received the 2010 Century Club Good Scout Award for his civic and business leadership by the Boy Scouts of America. He was also given the 2011 Penn Foundation for Behavioral Health Citizen of the Year Award and named “State Public Official of the Year” by Pennsylvania Bio in 2009. In 2014, Rob was honored by the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia during their annual Celebration of Hope event for his commitment to helping those in need.