President Ann Weaver Hart was among 45 Philadelphians to be selected by the School Reform Commission to act on an advisory committee that will interview the three finalists for chief executive officer of the Philadelphia School District.
“The commission truly wanted the advisory committee to be inclusive of Philadelphia’s community, business, faith, nonprofit and educational leaders, in addition to students and parents, so that all perspectives would be included in the selection of a new CEO,” said Heidi Gold, director of communications for Ross Associates, consultants for the commission.
The communication team at Temple could not comment on Hart’s association in the committee due to the “confidential nature of the search”.
Other community leaders include representatives for Constantine Papadakis and Amy Gutman, presidents of Drexel and Penn Universities.
“The School Commission asked a lot of our university partners to be on the committee. Temple and Penn each operate some of the district’s public schools, making them direct educational partners with the district,” Gold said.
Philadelphia City Council President Anna C. Verna, School Police Association President Michael Lodise and Jerry Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP, are also on the committee.
The committee met three times to discuss the mission of the group and to work on a series of interview questions.
Kent McGuire, dean of Temple’s College of Education, was one of those finalists up for the position before withdrawing from the race on Jan. 24.
“I responded to pressure and didn’t initially seek the CEO position. However, after hearing what the position entailed, I mostly saw an opportunity to confirm that I was the person,” McGuire said.
According to the resignation letter McGuire sent to School Reform Commission chairwoman Sandra Dungee Glenn, McGuire felt that he could “best serve the interest of children of Philadelphia by continuing to work at Temple University.”
Although McGuire withdrew from the race, he said he initially believed he had the credentials to become CEO.
“There are four qualifications I believe the CEO position requires, and I believe I possess those characteristics: a keen sense of the issues in Philadelphia, political acumen, the ability to build a constituency for the district, especially for children and youth, and good communication skills,” McGuire said.
McGuire also explained recent projects that are still in progress. His three continuous goals with the College of Education include updating and refining existing professional programs completing the process of updating Temple’s infrastructure and physical resources, such as smart classrooms to benefit staff and students, and connecting the college to public schools in and around Philadelphia.
Those still running for the position are Arlene Ackerman, 61, a teacher at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and Leroy D. Nunery, II, a former Edison School’s executive who runs his own education consulting company.
Most recently, Cassandra Jones, the district’s interim chief academic officer, put her name into the race on Jan. 28.
Abigail Shepherd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.