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Mayor selects charter school mentor, coach as new school board member

Ameen Akbar, a Philadelphia School District graduate, worked for 14 years at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School.

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

For the Board of Education’s new term starting May 1, Mayor Kenney has named the eight current board members and one newcomer as his appointees. The ninth seat on the board was open because Vice President Wayne Walker decided to step down for personal reasons.

The new appointee is Ameen Akbar, a graduate of the Philadelphia School District who worked for 14 years at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School in mentoring and service learning. YouthBuild is a school that helps young adults get their high school diplomas while connecting them in one intensive year with job training and career opportunities in the construction industry.

The Philadelphia native is now a senior associate at Grovider, a consulting firm that supports organizations in developing learning and development strategies. He also is the lead facilitator of Universal Companies’ BoysToMen program and an assistant basketball coach at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School.

“My experience as a student in Philadelphia’s public schools has been the single greatest driving force in my life, and both my career and my decision to apply for the Board of Education are guided by a belief in the transformative power of education,” Akbar said in a statement. “Over the years, I’ve been privileged to work with thousands of young people and to witness how students and communities thrive when the right resources and opportunities are present.”

The mayor said in a statement: “Ameen has dedicated his career to listening to young people and supporting them to pursue their full potential. His extensive experience working with former out-of-school youth has granted him valuable insight into the systems and lived experiences that directly impact the well-being and success of our city’s young people.”

Akbar was one of 27 candidates for the board – the required number – whose names were sent to Kenney by the Educational Nominating Panel. City Council must vote on the mayor’s appointments, a step that is new this year.

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