Philly's new school board meets for the first time

The body selected a president and vice president, and encouraged public input.

Mike DeNardo
July 10, 2018 - 6:43 am
The School District of Philadelphia

Mike DeNardo | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It's a new era for Philadelphia schools, as the city's new local school board met for the first time Monday night. 

Before a standing room crowd, Mayor Jim Kenney welcomed the nine men and women he appionted to run the school district.

"It's going to be a lot of hours and lot of hard work and a lot of difficult decisions," Kenney said, "but this is the most important thing we do as a city."

For two hours, the new local school board was reminded of its mandate for transparency and equity by public speakers including retired educator Rich Migliore.

"It is time for you to rebuild," Migliore said. "You are the hope for this community."

The message was received by board member Mallory Fix Lopez.

"I feel the pressure. I feel the huge mountain we as a board, and as a city, face in terms of reclaiming the narrative of public education," Fix Lopez said.

Mindful of the public's desire for change, the board unanimously elected former School Reform Commission Chair Joyce Wilkerson as president, citing her experience.

"When I said that people were reluctant to support me because of my SRC affiliation, that was a huge part of the conversation," Wilkerson said.

By a 5-4 vote, the board elected business consultant Wayne Walker vice president over social services worker Julia Danzy. Then, board member Lee Huang encouraged the public to be part of the process.

"Pray for us, root for us, listen to us, even yell at us as needed," Danzy said.