New Philly schools superintendent launches transition team

School District of  Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Tony B. Watlington Sr. poses alongside (left) Dr. Guy Generals, president of the Community College of Philadelphia, and Andrea Custis, president & CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia. (Superintendent Dr. Tony B. Watlington Sr./Twitter)

School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Tony B. Watlington Sr. poses alongside (left) Dr. Guy Generals, president of the Community College of Philadelphia, and Andrea Custis, president & CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia. (Superintendent Dr. Tony B. Watlington Sr./Twitter)

Newly-hired School District of  Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Tony B. Watlington Sr. introduced two leaders of his transition team this afternoon.

The team will be co-chaired by Andrea Custis, president & CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia, and Dr. Guy Generals, president of the Community College of Philadelphia.

The pair will help lead a variety of committees focused on things like student achievement and community engagement. Those committees will be made up of more than 80 principals, teachers, parents, and union leaders, among others.

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Custis herself is not an educator but says she comes from a family of teachers and was inspired by her sister’s work helping a little girl learn how to read.

“After almost a year, the little girl was able to read,” she said. “Her mother wrote the most beautiful letter that I cried when my sister gave it to me because the mother talked about how my sister had changed her daughter’s life, not just reading, but had changed her life.”

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Generals, head of a public institute of higher learning, says he wants to expand the focus beyond just K-12.

“I am a strong advocate for public education because a strong K-12 education allows our young people to be ready for college and career. In fact, let me be clear about this. I believe the educational landscape in Philadelphia really is a K-16 model,” he said. “We need to inform and support one another, and not just K-12.”

The work of Generals and Custis is phase two of the new superintendent’s three-phase plan with phase three being a new strategic plan for the city schools.

Watlington was introduced in April as replacement for Dr. William Hite who led Philly schools for the past 10 years. Watlington comes to Philly after leading the Rowan-Salisbury Schools System in North Carolina.

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