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You’ll recognize some of these 27 finalists for the new Philly school board

The headquarters of the School District of Philadelphia. February 27, 2018 Category: FeaturedLongPeople
The City of Philadelphia has announced the selection of 27 nominees for the forthcoming Board of Education.

Following the November dissolution of the School Reform Commission (SRC), the School District of Philadelphia’s state-appointed governing body, Mayor Jim Kenney appointed 13 community members and education leaders to a nominating panel tasked with recommending 27 others for the mayor to consider placing on a new school board, which will take effect in July.

Over the past few weeks, the nominating panel received and vetted over 500 applications to the school board, according to a release. The final board will have nine members. Mayor Jim Kenney will make those appointments by March 18 or request more names by March 8, after which the panel has 10 days to supply them and the mayor has 20 days after that to make his final selections.

As with the nominating panel, which includes nonprofit leaders such as Fairmount Park Conservancy ED Jamie Gauthier and Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians CEO Peter Gonzales, Philly social impact community members will recognize several of the names on the list.

Trish Wellenbach, for instance, took over the Please Touch Museum two years ago as the organization pulled itself out of bankruptcy. Anuj Gupta won a Knight Cities Challenge grant for Reading Terminal Market, where he’s general manager, in 2016 to break bread and break barriers. And Joyce Wilkerson and Chris McGinley are currently Kenney-appointed members of the School Reform Commission.

These are all 27 of the nominees and some of their professional accomplishments:

From our Partners

  • Sarah-Ashley Andrews, youth advocate
  • Jenne Ayers, associate at Ballard Spahr LLP and board member for the League of Women Voters, Philly Set Go and the Philadelphia Chapter NAACP Youth Council
  • Tonya Bah, former federal government employee and youth advocate
  • Dario Bellot, CFO and COO at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and former SVP of administration for Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • Suzanne Biemiller, trustee of the Community College of Philadelphia and former senior program officer at Pew Charitable Trusts 
  • Laura Boyce, former principal of Cooper B. Hatch Family School and Uncommon Schools Camden Prep in Camden and former Philadelphia public school and charter school teacher
  • Julia Danzy, social worker and former deputy commissioner for children services in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health
  • Susan DeJarnatt, Philadelphia public school parent, law professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and board member of the Education Law Center
  • Stacy Dutton, executive director of Lantern Theater Company
  • Leticia Egea-Hinton, social worker, former assistant managing director for the Office of Supportive Housing and board member of Trinity Health/Nazareth Hospital
  • Mallory Fix Lopez, former ESL teacher in Philadelphia public schools, former ESL director and program founder at the Garces Foundation and professor at the Community College of Philadelphia
  • Susanna Greenberg, board president of the board of trustees at Independence Charter School, former public school teacher and University of Pennsylvania Law School professor
  • Anuj Gupta, GM of Reading Terminal Market, former executive director of Mt. Airy USA
  • Rotonya Carr, health professional and VP of the Penn Alexander School’s Home and School Association
  • Lee Huang, SVP and principal at Econsult Solutions and member of the Philadelphia Water Rate board
  • Renee Hughes, former trial judge in the Court of Common Pleas and former CEO at the American Red Cross, Eastern Pennsylvania
  • Loree Jones, chief of staff at Rutgers University, former co-ED for City Year Greater Philadelphia, former city employee, former chief of staff and ED of the School Reform Commission and former chief of external affairs for the School District of Philadelphia
  • Chad Lassiter, social worker, ED of Red Cross House and Recovery for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania and former university professor
  • Maria McColgan, former Philadelphia public school teacher, healthcare professional and founding chairperson of Prevent Child Abuse
  • Chris McGinley, coordinator for and professor at the Educational Leadership Program at Temple, former Philadelphia public school teacher, principal and district-level administrator, and mayoral appointee to the School Reform Commission
  • Angela McIverHow I Decide board member, former public school teacher and former director of Upward Bound at both Temple and Penn
  • Folasade Olanipekun-Lewis, trustee of the Free Library, former CFO of the School District of Philadelphia, former city employee, former chief administrative officer at the Philadelphia International Airport and regional director of government and airport affairs at American Airlines
  • Sharon Parker, former Philadelphia public school teacher, former principal and superintendent of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District and former superintendent at the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District
  • Akil Parker, educator
  • Roberta Trombetta, founder of C.B. Community Schools, former managing director of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, former COO for the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Family Court Division and former CEO of Carson Valley Children’s Aid
  • Patricia Wellenbach, president and CEO of the Please Touch Museum and board member at Thomas Jefferson University and the Pennsylvania Women’s Forum
  • Joyce Wilkerson, former Community Legal Services attorney, former chief of staff for Mayor John Street, former ED of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, board member at the Merchant Fund, Scribe Video Center, Brandywine Workshop and Committee of Seventy and current mayoral appointee to the School Reform Commission

In a statement, Kenney said:

“I thank the Educational Nominating Panel for their hard work over the past few weeks, resulting in this considered list of recommendations. They’ve served an essential role in the process of returning our schools to local control, working around the clock to review hundreds of applications and evaluate candidates for the new Board of Education. I am grateful to each of them for the unique skills, knowledge and perspective that they brought to the process. I also want to recognize Wendell Pritchett for his leadership as Panel chair.

“Thanks to the Panel, I am confident that in the coming weeks I will be able to appoint a knowledgeable, committed and diverse Board of Education that will oversee our schools going forward and ensure that every child in Philadelphia can access a quality education.”

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