Mayor gets new batch of names for Philly school board consideration

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has received a list of 18 more candidates to consider as he works to assemble a nine-member city school board to replace the School Reform Commission. The candidate pool now stands at 45. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has received a list of 18 more candidates to consider as he works to assemble a nine-member city school board to replace the School Reform Commission. The candidate pool now stands at 45. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Responding to a request from Mayor Jim Kenney for more choices, the Philadelphia’s educational nominating panel submitted the names of 18 more candidates to potentially serve on the city’s new, nine-member school board.

They join the 27 people who were nominated late last month, bringing the candidate pool up to 45. Kenney has 20 days to pick — and announce — his starting nine. Once selected, the school board will officially replace the dissolving School Reform Commission on July 1.

Kenney specifically asked the nominating panel for “a diverse pool that more strongly represents parents and current or former primary- or secondary-level educators.”

Of the 18 people nominated Friday, at least five are parents of students now in public school, according to bios released by the Mayor’s Office of Education. Another nominee has a son about to start kindergarten in a public school, and two others have children who formerly attended public schools.

“I’m a parent of students in the public schools, and I know that’s a priority for the mayor,” said Wendell Pritchett, panel chairman. “We were happy to help him meet those requirements.”

The bios released Friday afternoon note that two among the new batch of nominees are former teachers.

Diversity, however, means different things to different people, and at least some school choice advocates believe there isn’t enough representation for the charter sector, which now educates about a third of the city’s public school students.

“It’s very disappointing to see that the charter sector of Philadelphia … is not being represented on this new board,” said Janine Yass, a prominent backer of the Philadelphia School Partnership — an advocacy group for education reform — and co-founder of the Boys Latin Charter School.

Of the 18 new nominees, one serves on a charter board, according to the bios. None of the other bios mention an explicit connection to charter schools.

The 18 news nominees are:

Dawn Ang, a nonprofit consultant and public school parent

Catherine Blunt, a long-time teacher and principal.

Jenney Bogoni, executive director of the Free Library’s Read by 4th Campaign.

Alison Cohen, head of Bicycle Transit Systems, which manages bike-sharing ventures.

Deborah Diamond, leader of the nonprofit Campus Philly and a public school parent.

Supreme Dow, executive director of the Black Writers museum and a public school parent.

Cheryl Harper, the student teacher site director for Drexel University’s Department of Education and a former administrator with the School District of Philadelphia.

Will Jordan, associate professor of urban education at Temple University and a board member of Arise Charter High School.

Reed Lyons, vice president of Navy Yard Development for the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.

William Peebles, a project manager for the U.S. Department of Labor (according to LinkedIn) and former PTA president.

Anna Perng, a co-founder of the Temple University Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Project, public school parent, and disability rights activist.

Brenda Rivera, an advocate for the homeless and former public school parent.

Michael Smith, a former teacher who runs a college readiness program at Frankford High School.

Andrew Stober, vice president of planning and economic development for the University City District and parent to a son who will begin kindergarten in September.

Katherine Stratos, the director of government affairs and analytics for Comcast NBCUniversal and former school district administrator.

Fernando Trevino, a political consultant with two sons in public school.

Wayne Walker, president of Walker Nell Partners, a business consultancy.

Christina Wong, vice president of ESM Productions, a live-event production and broadcast company.

This disclosure: Wendell Pritchett is a WHYY board member.

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