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Mayor appoints Temple administrator to oversee schools

Senior adviser to Temple’s president, Joyce Wilkerson, will chair the School Reform Commission.

Mayor Jim Kenney appointed Joyce Wilkerson, senior adviser for community relations and development for President Richard Englert, to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission last week.

Wilkerson, who has been the chair of the commission since Nov. 3, will hold her first action meeting on Nov. 15.

The SRC replaced the School District of Philadelphia’s school board in 2001, when Pennsylvania took over the public school system. The SRC is now responsible for preparing operating budgets, along with all other traditional duties of school boards.

Wilkerson has worked at Temple for the past two years and led several community-related projects. Most recently, Wilkerson has been advocating to establish the Laborers’ District Council Education and Training/Apprenticeship fund for a Career Technical Education Center at the Temple Sports Complex. The center would provide job training and educational services, provided through Temple.

“Education is the most important issue facing our city and I am honored that Mayor Kenney appointed me to serve the children and families of Philadelphia,” Wilkerson said in a statement. “I look forward to using my extensive experience in public service to help strengthen our public education system.”

Wilkerson also thanked Temple for its support as she takes on another role, along with her position as senior adviser.

The SRC replaced the School District of Philadelphia’s school board in 2001, when Pennsylvania took over the public school system. The SRC is now responsible for preparing operating budgets, along with all other traditional duties of school boards.

“In the coming years, it’s important that the SRC continues to build on the District’s recent gains while also preparing for a smooth transition to greater local control,” Kenney said in a statement. “I am confident that Joyce’s strong fiscal management skills, and experience working in community engagement and for a variety of quasi-governmental organizations will enable her to succeed in this important role.”

Wilkerson will be joined by Farah Jimenez, president and CEO of the nonprofit Philadelphia Education Fund; Sylvia Simms, a community liaison in Philadelphia for the Urban Affairs Coalition bringing digital access to underserved communities in the city and William Green, a former Democratic Philadelphia councilman-at-large.

“Joyce Wilkerson is brilliant and deeply knowledgeable about all facets of government,” Council President Darrell Clarke said in a statement. “Joyce is a pro at balancing competing interests in the pursuit of fairness, and it only helps that she also is graceful and caring.”

“I look forward to working with her and the SRC as we advocate for the resources our children deserve while transitioning to locally controlled governance to restore the public’s confidence in district operations,” he added.

Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at gillian.mcgoldrick@temple.edu or on Twitter @gill_mcgoldrick.

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