Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Veteran superintendent appointed as Chief Recovery Officer for Harrisburg schools.

A retired Philadelphia-area superintendent will serve as the new state oversight officer for the Harrisburg School District.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has appointed Dr. Janet Samuels as the district’s new chief recovery officer, spokesperson Eric Levis confirmed on Friday. She will oversee the implementation of a new, long-term recovery plan aimed at raising the district’s academic performance and financial health.

PDE put the school district under a financial recovery designation in 2012. State law requires every district in recovery to have a state-appointed recovery officer.

Samuels replaces Audrey Utley, who retired in June after serving as Harrisburg’s CRO for three years.

Her salary is capped at $144,000 annually and will be paid by PDE.

This June, Samuels retired as the superintendent of Norristown Area School District, where she oversaw a $150 million annual budget and nine schools enrolling 7,400 students. She previously served as a regional superintendent for the Philadelphia Area School District. Her career in public education spans 35 years, according to Levis, and includes experience as a principal and classroom teacher.

Samuels has been a member of the National Staff Development Council, where she served as National Conference Co-Chair, Levis said. She holds degrees from Millersville University, the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

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