The new Philadelphia School Board unanimously elected Temple Senior Adviser for Community Relations and Development Joyce Wilkerson as president, during the board’s first meeting on Monday.
To serve as introductions, each board member read a prepared statement. Wilkerson spoke about how she plans for the board to use district funds “prudently and equitably,” and to provide the public with greater input in the board’s decision-making.
Many parents and other supporters present were quick to consider the meeting a victory after months of protests to disband the board’s predecessor, the School Reform Commision. The previous state-controlled group was widely considered out of touch, lacking in transparency and heavily reliant on handling matters behind closed doors.
Christopher McGinley, an associate professor in the College of Education, is also a school board member. Both McGinley and Wilkerson resigned from their positions on the SRC in March to become eligible for selection on the new board.
The SRC voted to dissolve itself in November, but it continued to serve until its final public meeting on June 21. During that time, Mayor Jim Kenney selected a new nine-member panel. Kenney considered at least 45 candidates across multiple fields, including education and politics, who were recommended by a nominating committee.
“In my years of service there have been eras of progress and eras of failure,” McGinley said during his statement on Monday. “Tonight, we stand on the cusp of making a better world for the children and young families who live and work in our city.”
The school board will meet next on Aug. 16.