In 2019, Wilkerson led the board’s work to create and implement goals and guardrails, a strategic plan to raise student achievement in Philadelphia public schools.
Under the goals and guardrails plan, the board dedicates a significant percentage of its time to setting achievement goals in reading, math and college and career readiness and has substantial check-ins on those goals at every school board meeting.
The board, as the district’s governing body, is also responsible for voting on contracts and conducting the business of the school system, but spends less time on operational matters and more on academics.
Wilkerson recently participated in the board’s six-month national search for a new superintendent after William R. Hite Jr. announced last fall that he would not renew his contract after a decade at the helm.
Led by the board’s vice president Leticia Egea-Hinton, the board conducted extensive community outreach, hired an executive search firm and appointed a superintendent search advisory committee. In April, the search culminated with the appointment of superintendent Tony B. Watlington Sr.
In a statement released by the school district, Watlington congratulated Wilkerson on her lifetime achievement award.
“Board of Education president Joyce Wilkerson is an extraordinary public servant who has dedicated her life’s work to making Philadelphia and specifically the School District of Philadelphia better,” Watlington said in a statement.
“President Wilkerson was nominated for this award, not only for the educational milestones that she has worked hard to achieve, but in recognition of her selfless leadership and passionate advocacy for young people,” he added. “Earning this award reiterates her longstanding commitment to our students and I congratulate her on this accomplishment.”
Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.