This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Education Fund welcomed Darren Spielman as its new executive director on March 5.
Carol Fixman, who headed up the organization for seven years, announced her retirement last fall, initiating an extensive search by the PEF board for her replacement.
During her tenure, Fixman created new programs and built the organization’s national and local relationships. Programs that emerged under her leadership include the Philadelphia Math+Science Coalition, ArtsRising, the Philadelphia Teacher Residency, and the Post-Secondary Success Program.
Spielman was the vice president of workforce development at the Philadelphia Youth Network, where he managed the WorkReady Philadelphia program.
Prior to that, Spielman was executive director of Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia, an academic enrichment program that helps low-income students get ready for college.
Spielman said he is equally passionate about the need for inventive programs and new partnerships. He said he is excited by the District’s recent announcement that it would no longer order schools to follow a scripted curriculum.
"Decentralizing in this manner is great in that it puts teachers and principals back in the position of being decision-makers and leaders in terms of what makes sense for schools and for kids," Spielman said.
"It allows for innovation and makes the expertise of people in the schools even more important."
Spielman will be officially inducted into his new position on April 5 at a "Passing the Baton" ceremony held by PEF.