Kenney Wants a More Diverse School Board Nominee List

The mayor said the new Board of Education should “represent all Philadelphians,” not just people with professional and governmental experience.

school board

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Last month, the city’s school board nominating panel presented Mayor Jim Kenney with 27 nominees for Philly’s brand-new Board of Education.

But Kenney, who will choose the board’s nine members, says he wants more options — and more diversity.

“I am impressed by the nominees the Panel has recommended so far, and would like to consider more names to ensure that I appoint the strongest Board possible,” Kenney said in a statement on Thursday.

The mayor has requested a second list of nominees that includes more parents and current or former educators.

“In appointing Board of Education members, I must consider the candidates as individuals as well as how they would fit into the overall makeup of the Board,” Kenney said in a letter to the panel. “I believe the panel’s initial list includes a sufficient group of individuals with professional and governmental experience. … As we review the overall makeup of the appointments, it is important that the members represent all Philadelphians.”

The initial list includes names such as Anuj Gupta, general manager of Reading Terminal Market; Loree Jones, who served as managing director during the Street administration; SRC chair Joyce Wilkerson; Please Touch Museum president and CEO Patricia Wellenbach; and former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge and American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania CEO Renee Cardwell Hughes.

The panel now has 10 days to make more recommendations. The group will hold a public meeting by March 18th to finalize its choices, at which point the mayor will then have 20 days to appoint the new board.

“I thank the Panel for its hard work and am confident that this process will serve our city’s vision of building quality schools in every neighborhood,” Kenney said.

You can read the mayor’s full letter to the panel here.