Mayor Kenney on Tuesday named the 13 city residents who will shape Philadelphia’s new school board, laying out a ambitious timeline for forming a district governing body that will control a $3 billion budget and the education of about 200,000 students.
The board nominating panel includes parents, educators, activists, and one former School Reform Commission member. It must consider applicants and nominees for the board, presenting to Kenney a list of 27 nominees for nine seats by Feb. 28.
The group will hold its first meeting Friday.
“I am confident that we’ll hear from a wide range of candidates representing all constituencies in our incredibly diverse city,” Kenney said in a statement. “The end result will be a board of education that brings a new vision for improving the educational opportunities of Philadelphia students and families.”
Kenney in November announced a plan to end the 16-year state takeover of Philadelphia’s schools. The SRC voted to dissolve itself that month; Pennsylvania Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera certified the dissolution in December. The mayor’s announcement of the nominating panel triggers the formal start of the school board process that will culminate in his appointments to the board in March, officials said.
Members of the new board will begin learning the ropes immediately, attending SRC meetings and briefings to ready themselves to take the School District reins on July 1, when the SRC ceases to exist.
Though the nominating panel is charged with sifting through those candidates put forth by members of the public — and arrived at by the panel itself — Kenney has the final say in who sits on the board. Going forward, a charter change could give City Council formal consent over board members; even without that change, Council will have a say, the mayor has said.
Philadelphia residents who are registered voters are eligible for consideration for board seats. Applications, which can be submitted online or in City Hall Room 204, are due Jan. 31.
The nominating panel members include: Kendra Brooks, a district parent, restorative justice instructor, and member of Parents United for Public Education; Bonnie Camarda, a pastor, director of partnerships for the Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, and former director of Esperanza Health Services; Patrick Eiding, president of the Philadelphia Council, AFL-CIO; Dan Fitzpatrick, president of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and former chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Jamie Gauthier, executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy and parent of two district students; Peter Gonzales, CEO of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians; Derren Magnum, president of the C.W. Henry Elementary School PTA and an official with Opera Philadelphia; Barbara Moore Williams, a 35-year Philadelphia teacher and administrator who now teaches at Cheyney University and works as an educational consultant; Stephanie Naidoff, former Philadelphia commerce director and city representative; Ivy Olesh, executive director of Playworks, a district parent, and the founding member of the Friends of Chester Arthur; Kimberly Pham, a Temple University student and activist concentrating on public policy and re-engaging youth; Wendell Pritchett, provost of the University of Pennsylvania and a former SRC member; and Sean Vereen, president of Steppingstone Scholars.
Information sessions about the new school board seats and the process of re-establishing local control will be held throughout the city in the coming weeks. The following meetings are scheduled: 7 p.m. Wednesday at Parkwood Civic Association, St. Anselm Church, 12670 Dunks Ferry Rd.; 6 p.m. Thursday at Mantua Civic Association, Grace Lutheran Church, 36th Street and Haverford Avenue; 3:30 p.m. Monday at T.M. Peirce Elementary School, 2300 W. Cambria St.; 7 p.m. Monday at Max Myers Recreation Center, 1601 Hellerman St.; 6 p.m. Tuesday at Philadelphia Home and School Association, 440 N. Broad St.; 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday at Community College of Philadelphia, Center for Business and Industry, 18th and Callowhill Streets; and 6 p.m. Jan. 30 at Southwest CDC, 6328 Paschall Ave.