WEST CHESTER (March 18, 2021) – Drawing on her experience as a public-school educator, state Senator Carolyn Comitta was recently named to the Senate Education Committee for the 2021-22 legislative session.
Comitta, who successfully advocated for teachers and school staff to be prioritized for vaccination, said she will work to ensure students, families, and schools have the support and resources they need as districts across Chester County prepare to return to full, in-person instruction.
“I am honored to serve on the committee and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the significant and ongoing impacts this pandemic has had on schools, students, and families across Chester County and the Commonwealth,” Comitta said. “The disruption in learning has impacted different students in different ways. It’s important that we fully understand the issues at stake as we work to help every young person realize their greatest potential.”
The announcement was met with support from local superintendents, including Dr. Jim Scanlon of the West Chester Area School District and Dr. John Sanville of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.
“Senator Comitta’s voice will be critically important on the Education Committee,” Scanlon said. “As a former teacher, and advocate for children, she will be an asset as we make difficult and meaningful decisions for the children in the Commonwealth.”
“I appreciate Senator Comitta’s experienced leadership, her strong commitment to education, and her valued partnership and collaboration with our schools. Senator Comitta’s experience as an educator combined with her years in public service offer incredible value to our County and she will be an invaluable asset to the Senate Education Committee,” Sanville said. “I am encouraged to know that her work will now have an impact in school districts throughout the commonwealth.”
Senator Jay Costa, the Senate Democratic Leader, said that Comitta’s classroom experience coupled with her commitment to students and young people makes her an ideal choice for the committee
“Not only does Senator Comitta have two degrees in education and a decade of service as a public school teacher, she also cares deeply about the upcoming generation of young Pennsylvanians and ensuring that they have access to the highest quality education – regardless of where they are born. She’s demonstrated this through her time in the House of Representatives and already with her work in the Senate,” Costa said. “She’s a valuable addition to this committee and I know she will do well.”
Earlier this year, Comitta brought together Chester County school district superintendents, legislators, and officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and governor’s office to discuss efforts to fully reopen schools and distribute the vaccine to teachers and school staff.
As a result of her advocacy and the efforts of others, Governor Wolf and the bipartisan COVID-19 Joint Task Force established plans to prioritize educators and school staff in receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Comitta also highlighted the significant federal pandemic relief that is slated for local school districts while cautioning that there are still major challenges ahead as educators, students, and families look to the post-pandemic era.
“While the federal relief is very helpful, the fact is our system of education is not going to recover overnight,” Comitta said. “After a year of closures and limited in-person instruction, impacts on student growth and development, behavior, and other important factors will require sustained support, attention, and involvement going forward. I look forward to working on the Senate Education Committee to ensure that students, schools, and teachers emerge from this crisis stronger, healthier and better prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.”
Comitta holds a bachelor’s degree in education from West Chester State College (now West Chester University) and a master’s degree in education from Widener University.
Previously, she served as a teacher and curriculum specialist in the Octorara Area School District for a decade.
In addition to her position on the Senate Education Committee, Comitta will continue to serve as minority chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees.