Philly school board elects ‘new generation of leaders’

Board members Reginald Streater and Mallory Fix-Lopez were elected board president and vice president respectively. (Both photos are courtesy of the Philadelphia Board of Education)

Board members Reginald Streater and Mallory Fix-Lopez were elected board president and vice president respectively. (Both photos are courtesy of the Philadelphia Board of Education)

Philadelphia’s Board of Education has new leadership for the first since it returned to local control four years ago.

Board members Reginald Streater and Mallory Fix-Lopez were elected Thursday night to immediately serve one-year terms as president and vice president of the board.

The two replace Joyce Wilkerson and Leticia Egea-Hinton, who had led the board since it took over from the state’s School Reform Commission (SRC) in April 2018. Both opted not to run for reelection and will remain board members.

Philadelphia has the only school board in the state that is appointed rather than elected.

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Wilkerson served on the SRC, and as its chair, guided the district back under the city’s authority after 17 years of state oversight. She said it’s been an honor to serve, but it’s time for her and Egea-Hinton to step down from their leadership roles.

“I think I was the right person to get us to this point,” said Wilkerson, who nominated Streater. “I don’t think I’m the right person to take us forward.”

“We feel the time is right for a new generation of leaders to bring their passion for improving public education, their professionalism, and their collaborative spirit to board leadership to effectively move our work forward.”

The board unanimously chose Streater, 39, while Fix-Lopez, 38, won by a 7-2 vote over fellow board member Lisa Salley.

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“I am deeply appreciative, honored, and humbled by the opportunity to be the president of the Philadelphia Board of Education,” Streater said.

Streater was appointed to the board in 2021 and is the only male member. He’s a graduate of the city’s public schools — Leeds Middle School and Germantown High School, neither of which is still operating. He attended Temple University for both his undergraduate and law degrees.

He said as a public school student he experienced many of the challenges the district’s students are facing, including gun violence and homelessness.

Streater practices law at Berger Montague and has two children who attend the city’s public schools.

He repeated something Thursday night that he’s said in the past: that education is not just a civil right, but a human right.

Streater said as board president he’ll make sure the district continues to invest in its teachers, improve its finances, and work more closely with state and city officials to achieve better outcomes for students.

Fix-Lopez has served on the board since 2018, and like Streater is a public school parent.

She also used to teach social studies and English as a second language in the district. She now teaches educators at the Community College of Philadelphia and at the University of Pennsylvania.

Both Streater and Fix-Lopez praised new Superintendent Tony Watlington, who succeeded William Hite in June, and said he’s the right person to lead the district.

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