SRC's Jimenez to lead Philadelphia Education Fund

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Farah Jimenez , named president and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / File Photograph

Farah Jimenez, a Philadelphia School Reform Commission member and a former head of the People's Emergency Center, has been named president and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund.

The independent nonprofit, which champions quality public education in the city and provides scholarships to help students attend college, is scheduled to make the announcement Monday.

"We are excited that Farah will be driving Philadelphia Education Fund's continued mission of delivering exceptional outcomes for all Philadelphia students by developing great teachers, and building paths to college and career success," David Baker, chairman of the fund's board of directors, said in a statement."

Jimenez, 47, an attorney with a background in nonprofit leadership, said she was excited to join the fund. She said she was looking forward to supporting "the work that it does in teacher development and teacher quality, as well as the work it does in providing 'last dollar' scholarships to students and access to college."

She was appointed to serve on the unpaid, five-member SRC by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014.

Six months later, Jimenez left the People's Emergency Center, a social-service agency that works with homeless women and children.

She said that after she received a call asking if she would be interested in applying for the Education Fund post, she checked with Michael Davis, the School District's general counsel, to see if there would be a conflict of interest. The fund has two contracts with the district.

She said Davis told her she could recuse herself from fund-related votes.

"The general counsel did review Commissioner Jimenez's request in applying for this position, and he concluded that it would not be a conflict of interest," district spokesman Fernando Gallard said.

Jimenez is married to attorney David L. Hyman, whose law partner represents some charter schools. She said she would continue to pay attention and would refrain from voting if there appeared to be a conflict.

"As I do with charters, I will pay close attention and not participate if there is a conflict - or there could be a perception of a conflict," Jimenez said.

She noted that City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, SRC Chair Marjorie Neff, and State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.), with whom she has worked for years, applauded her new position.

"While we do not always agree on every issue, I look forward to working with her, particularly on the issue of helping more students attend college," Hughes said.

That means "I'm a straight shooter," Jimenez said. "I have worked hard in my role at the SRC to be very thoughtful about my votes and also to vote with integrity."

Jimenez will succeed Darren Spielman, who left the nonprofit in Center City in late February.

She declined to reveal her salary. Spielman was paid $150,000, according to the nonprofit's tax filing for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014.

martha.woodall@phillynews.com215-854-2789@marwooda