This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Mayor Kenney appointed Christopher McGinley, an associate professor in education at Temple University, to the School Reform Commission in January to replace Sylvia Simms, whose term had expired.
“His educator lens is exactly what the SRC needs in order to build on the District’s gains in recent years,” said Kenney in a statement.
“Dr. McGinley’s passion for public education and reducing the achievement gap, coupled with his background as an administrator for various school districts, will also help the District prepare for a smooth transition to greater local control,” the mayor said.
McGinley is the coordinator for the Educational Leadership Program at the Temple University College of Education. His career in education began in the School District of Philadelphia, where he worked as a special education teacher in middle schools and high schools. He also served as the principal of Adaire Elementary and later Austin Meehan Middle School.
In 1999, McGinley left Philadelphia to take a position as the assistant superintendent in the Cheltenham Township district, where he was promoted to superintendent in 2003.
He said his first priority as a commissioner is to get "up to speed" on all the issues facing the District, while considering the future of District governance.
"I think a return to local control is the right direction to take, but it is also something that needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully over time," he said. "The concept is appealing to almost everyone; the question is how do you design a local control situation so it capitalizes on assets of the School District and builds on the relationship and dependency the District has on the city and state?”
McGinley said he is leaning toward some combination of elected and appointed board members, noting that elections can "capitalize on the energy and interest local community members have on the schools," including parents, and become a "launching ground" for a new generation of leadership.
His appointment brings the number of SRC members to four. Estelle Richman was nominated by Gov. Wolf in October, but she awaits Senate confirmation.