by Diane Payne
Local Control Returns!
All nine members of the newly appointed Board of Education were present for this meeting, as were many elected officials and union representatives who took the opportunity to both welcome the new board and to thank for taking on this difficult public service: Mayor James Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilmembers Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Helen Gym, Jannie Blackwell, Derek Green, and CASA President Dr. Robin Cooper.
Seven of the nine APPS members in attendance spoke to welcome the board and to advise them that APPS’ mission of defending public education will continue. To see their testimonies, go to APPSPhilly.net.
The nine new board members are: Julia Danzy, Leticia Egea-Hinton, Mallory Fix Lopez, Lee Huang, Maria McColgan, Christopher McGinley, Angela McIver, Wayne Walker, and Joyce Wilkerson.
Election of Board Officers
In its first order of business, the board nominated and elected Chris McGinley to serve as president pro-tempore to manage the meeting until elections for president and vice president could be completed. McGinley chaired the meeting through the public speakers and subsequent elections. The single nomination for President was Joyce Wilkerson; the subsequent vote was a unanimous “yes.” There were two nominations for Vice-president: Wayne Walker and Julia Danzy. It was refreshing to see a public deliberation about each candidate prior to the vote. Walker was elected by a 5 to 4 vote. Joyce Wilkerson chaired the remainder of the meeting.
All of the board members took a turn at presenting their first public remarks about their duty to govern the School District of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this was the first opportunity the public had to hear the views of their new representatives. The remarks all incorporated hope and optimism but were also embedded with the realism of the tough job ahead. Chris McGinley’s emotional presentation included quotes from Tennyson. The audience responded to Angela McIver’s reminder of the importance of public schools in supporting democracy and embracing all of its sometimes loud and messy components.