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Philly school board announces members of superintendent search panel

By: - December 8, 2021 9:48 am

By Chanel Hill

PHILADELPHIA — A School District of Philadelphia administrator, faith and business leaders, activists, a charter school leader and students are among a group of members in Philadelphia’s newly-created superintendent search advisory committee.

The Board of Education announced the 13 names of the Philadelphians who have been selected for the committee Tuesday.

Philadelphia School Board President Joyce Wilkerson (Philadelphia Tribune photo)

Among the members are: leader of SEIU 32BJ Ernie Bennett, William H. Loesche Elementary School teacher Virginia Field, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce Regina A. Hairston, operations director at Project Based Learning Inc. Cindy Lee Hauger, the head of school at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School Ayesha Imani, coalition coordinator of Our City Our Schools Pep Marie, bilingual family adviser at Hispanos Unidos para Niños Excepcionales Marina Nunez, John F, McCloskey School principal John W. Spencer, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement at Community College of Philadelphia David E. Thomas, senior pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church the Rev. Mark Tyler and senior director of Legal and Paralegal at PREIT Services Christiana Uy.

Board of Education student representatives Rebecca Allen and Armando Ortiz are also a part of the committee.

Many of the committee members are alumni of the school district. Some members are also guardians of current district students.

“We are grateful and excited to have convened a committee of individuals who are personally connected to the School District of Philadelphia as guardians, educators, volunteers, or graduates, who reflect the many neighborhoods and types of schools that exist across Philadelphia, and who have had experiences with and in multiple school settings, including charter schools,” said Board of Education president said Joyce Wilkerson in a statement.

The committee will aid the board in evaluating and reviewing final superintendent candidates and provide input that will help inform the board’s decision-making process. However, the board will not select the superintendent finalists.

New report lays out what Philadelphians want in next school superintendent

The members were identified through a collaborative process that solicited Philadelphians who represent a variety of voices and perspectives.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Commonwealth Association of School Administrators as well as community organizations and city agencies were among the organizations partnered with on the 48 community engagement listening sessions held during October and November.

Superintendent William Hite announced in September that he will not renew his contract at the end of the 2021-22 school year after 10 years of service.

Thomas said in a statement that he wants to keep student success at the forefront of the superintendent search process.

“I am committed to doing all within my ability to ensure that there is an educational system in our city where all students and families have access to safe, clean, nurturing, rigorous, and high achieving schools and educational programs where student success is at the core,” Thomas said.

Philly schools superintendent William Hite is leaving

“I hope to work collaboratively with the community, other committee members, and relevant School District and city officials to find the ideal candidate who will build upon the many great things already happening in our public schools while remedying the challenging areas our schools continue to face.”

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.

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