Kristen Graham / Inquirer Staff Writer
Pedro Ramos, chair of the School Reform Commission for the past two years, resigned his post this morning.
Ramos, an attorney, cited family concerns in his resignation, which was announced by the governor's office. He was absent at last week's SRC meeting, also for family concerns. The governor's office said Ramos was attending to "recent, unexpected news within his family."
He has been SRC chair since 2011.
“I appreciate Pedro’s hard work and dedication to guide the Philadelphia School District during these difficult times,’’ the governor said in a news release. “Pedro’s well-deserved reputation and record in Philadelphia’s educational community gave him the credibility and insight to bring about change and positive reforms on behalf of the students of Philadelphia."
“While we regret to see Pedro depart the Commission, every citizen of Philadelphia has benefitted from Pedro’s spirit of public service, civic commitment and the work he has done to put our children first. Now, our best wishes are with the Ramos family,” Corbett said.
The Ramos-led SRC has steered the district through enormous turmoil, which continues. The district was nearly out of cash when he arrived; it it continues to struggle financially, but city and state officials now generally say they have faith in the panel's financial stewardship.
Under Ramos' watch, the district hired Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. It closed dozens of schools. And most recently, it suspended some rules around seniority in assigning teachers.
Ramos' resignation creates a big question mark in a district already fraught with unknowns: will Republican Gov. Corbett, who nominated Ramos, now turn to someone within his own party to lead the SRC? How will Ramos' departure affect the ongoing Philadelphia Federation of Teachers contract negotiations? For how long will there be a vacancy on the SRC?
It wasn't immediately clear who would succeed Ramos as chair. Wendell Pritchett ran Thursday's SRC meeting, and served as acting chair before Ramos' confirmation.
Ramos, 48, was on his second stint on the district's governing body. He formerly served as chair of the old Board of Education. He is a product of district schools.
The five-seat SRC is made up of three gubernatorial nominees and two mayoral appointments. Currently, Joseph Dworetzky and Feather Houstoun are the other gubernatorial picks; Sylvia Simms and Pritchett were appointed by the mayor.