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Philadelphia school board member steps down

Mayor now has two vacancies to fill on board

Ameen Akbar’s resignation is effective immediately.
Philadephia Office of Education
Former school board member Christopher McGinley speaking at the first hearing of the new board in July 2018.
Greg Windle / The Notebook

Ameen Akbar, who was appointed to the city’s school board in May, is resigning to take care of his ailing father, Philadelphia school district officials said late Monday.

His resignation from the eight-member board is effective immediately. Akbar’s departure leaves two vacancies the mayor has to fill on the board. Christopher McGinley resigned earlier this year for personal reasons.

“We truly regret that Mr. Akbar has resigned, but we certainly understand that family comes first and wish Mr. Akbar’s father all the best with his health moving forward,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement on Monday. “We are also grateful for Mr. Akbar’s service on the board this year.”

In his letter of resignation, Akbar said, “I am saddened that I cannot continue to serve. I am deeply appreciative of your belief in me, my credibility, my lived experiences, and authentic voice to be a Board of Education member.”

He said his “heart will always be with the students, educators, administrators, board members, and community members that make up our wonderful school district.”

A graduate of the district, Akbar worked for 14 years providing mentoring and service learning at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School. The mayor’s office said the city will reconvene the nominating panel next month to fill any vacancies on the board. The nominating panel will recommend possible board candidates to the mayor, who will then make appointments subject to council’s advice and consent.

Akbar was one of 27 board candidates whose names were sent to the mayor by the Educational Nominating Panel. Council members then voted on the mayor’s appointments.

“While Mr. Akbar has been a board member for a relatively short time, we have truly valued his voice as a native Philadelphian, public school graduate, and career educator and student advocate,” said board president Joyce S. Wilkerson. “The board has benefited from the insights shared and questions asked by Mr. Akbar as we consider the work of the district, and we greatly appreciate his contributions to the board.”

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