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Nominating committee members, timeline for new school board announced

Exterior of The School District of Philadelphia
Emma Lee/WHYY file

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Mayor Kenney’s office announced Tuesday morning the names of the 13 people who will interview and recommend candidates for a new Board of Education and finalized the timeline for the process that will culminate in board members taking office on July 1. The nominating panel will convene Friday, and the deadline for people to submit their names for appointment to the Board is Jan. 31, which is two weeks from tomorrow. Anyone interested in applying to the board or nominating someone else can do so by using an online form or by submitting a paper form at City Hall, Room 204. There will also be a series of informational meetings around the city for anyone interested in the process or in becoming a member of the board. The schedule:

  • 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, at Parkwood Civic Association, St. Anselm Church, 12670 Dunks Ferry Rd.
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at Mantua Civic Association, Grace Lutheran Church, Haverford and North 36th Street
  • 3:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, at T.M. Peirce Elementary School, 2300 W. Cambria St.
  • 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, at Max Myers Recreation Center, 1601 Hellerman St.
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Philadelphia Home & School Association, 440 N. Broad St.
  • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Community College of Philadelphia, Center for Business & Industry, 18th and Callowhill Streets, C2-28
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, at Southwest CDC, 6328 Paschall Ave.

Visit phila.gov/education to learn of additional informational sessions as they are scheduled. The nominating panel will take the month of February to develop a list of 27 people to recommend to Kenney –three for each of the nine seats. Kenney will announce his choices by the end of March. In a statement, he said he is “confident that we’ll hear from a wide range of candidates representing all constituencies in our incredibly diverse city. The end result will be a Board of Education that brings a new vision for improving the educational opportunities of Philadelphia students and families.” The mayor decided in the fall, after years of lobbying and pressure from activist groups, to return the District to local governance after 16 years of effective state control through the five-member School Reform Commission. The City Charter requires that most of the nominating committee members represent various organizations and constituency groups around the city, including labor, business, and higher education. The members of the nominating committee are as follows:

  • Kendra Brooks is an instructor for the International Institute for Restorative Practices and a parent advocate with Parents United for Public Education. She has conducted restorative practices training in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Raleigh, North Carolina, and presented at regional and national conferences. Brooks worked for 15 years as director of camping and recreation programs for Easter Seals of Southeastern Pennsylvania. She is a parent of two children who attend District schools.
  • Bonnie Camarda is the director of partnerships for the Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. She has previously served as the executive director of Esperanza Health Services and is also a pastor and the president of the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia. Camarda is on several boards, including Nueva Esperanza Community Development Corp., the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Philadelphia Leadership Foundation, the Philadelphia School Partnership, and Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center.
  • Patrick Eiding is the president of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, representing more than 100 local unions in the region. He serves as secretary-treasurer of the Philadelphia Building Trades Council, as a member of the Executive Council of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and on the General Board of the National AFL-CIO representing Central Labor Councils in the Northeast. Eiding is also a member of several local boards and commissions, including the Philadelphia Area Labor Management Committee, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Urban Affairs Coalition, and Philadelphia Works.
  • Dan Fitzpatrick is the president of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. He is a former chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and serves on its executive committee and its CEO Council for Growth. As chairman of the CEO Council’s Human Capital Working Group, he has supported programs and initiatives aimed at workforce development. Fitzpatrick serves on the boards of La Salle University, the Urban Affairs Coalition, Philadelphia Works, Wistar Institute, and Drexel University’s College of Engineering.
  • Jamie Gauthier is the executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, a nonprofit that works closely with the City of Philadelphia and residents to advance public parks across the city. She previously served as executive director at the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and as a program officer with the Local Initiatives Support Corp. Gauthier is on the boards of PennFuture, University City District, Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition, and Garden Court Community Association. She is a parent of two Philadelphia public school students.
  • Peter Gonzales is the president and chief executive officer of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, a private nonprofit organization whose mission is accelerating immigrant integration and economic advancement through education, training, employment and entrepreneurship. Gonzales’ professional career has included working on community economic development projects in North Philadelphia, serving as chief of staff to the city solicitor, and running an immigration law firm. Gonzales serves on several boards, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Global Philadelphia Association, and Philadelphia Works.
  • Derren Mangum is the president of the PTA at C.W. Henry School, where one of his sons is enrolled. His three other sons also attend District schools. Mangum is the associate director of institutional giving at Opera Philadelphia.
  • Barbara Moore Williams attended Philadelphia public schools throughout her K-12 education and went on to serve in the Philadelphia School District for more than 35 years as a teacher, coach/trainer, and director of teacher development. She helped establish the District’s Teaching and Learning Network, supporting professional development for teachers and principals. Williams has been an adjunct professor at Temple University and Cheyney University and is currently an educational consultant with expertise in teacher development, school leadership, and anti-racist and diversity training.
  • Stephanie Naidoff was Philadelphia’s commerce director and city representative from 2004 to 2008, guiding economic development strategy and serving as a liaison to the business, arts, and hospitality and tourism communities. Naidoff has served on the boards of many local organizations, such as the Free Library of Philadelphia, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. and, most recently, the Philadelphia School Partnership and the Fund for the School District. Naidoff is a graduate of Philadelphia’s public schools.
  • Ivy Olesh is the executive director of Playworks, a nonprofit that promotes students’ health, development, and success through play. She is the founding member and past president of the Friends of Chester Arthur, which supports the neighborhood school her son attends. Olesh also serves on the board of Smith Memorial Playground and on the Advisory Council for Mural Arts Philadelphia, and she has more than a decade of work experience in economic development.
  • Kimberly Pham is a community activist and member of the National Council of Young Leaders, which advises elected officials and decision-makers on issues and solutions affecting low-income youth and their communities. Pham is also a member of the Project U-Turn collaborative, a city-wide coalition to address school dropout rates and promote reengagement and services for youth. Pham is a Temple University student majoring in social work, focusing her studies on public policy and social transformation.
  • Wendell Pritchett is provost of the University of Pennsylvania. He served on the School Reform Commission from 2011 to 2014. Pritchett’s previous civic leadership roles include deputy chief of staff and policy director for former Mayor Nutter, chair of the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia, chancellor of Rutgers-Camden, and trustee or director for several organizations, including Community Legal Services, Pennsylvania Health Management Corp., and Cooper University Hospital. His extensive body of academic research focuses on urban policy, particularly urban renewal, housing finance, and housing discrimination.
  • Sean Vereen is the president of Steppingstone Scholars, a nonprofit dedicated to creating college and workforce pathways for systemically underserved students. Vereen previously served as the associate dean of opportunity and access in the undergraduate admissions office at the University of Pennsylvania, during which time he managed external partnerships and campus initiatives to promote cultural and socioeconomic diversity in the student body. Before his role in admissions, he was the associate director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

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