Credit: Mona Lee

The Education Nominating Panel, which includes Penn Provost Wendell Pritchett, selected 27 nominees for the new Philadelphia School Board, many of whom have connections to the University. 

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney appointed 13 city residents to the nominating panel in January. Kenney will now be in charge of narrowing down the list to nine individuals to form the new board in time for the upcoming school year. 

“I am honored that Mayor Kenney entrusted me, along with twelve other institutional and community leaders, with the responsibility of serving on this important panel,” Pritchett wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

The 9-person Board of Education will be responsible for improving a school district which has the eighth largest student enrollment in the nation and which is projected to incur a nearly $1 billion deficit by the fiscal year 2022. The board will be facing a projected $105 million deficit in the fiscal year 2019. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that over the past two months the panel reviewed more than 500 applications and resumes in search of the 27 nominees. 

Several of the panel’s nominees share connections to Penn. 

One such nominee is Penn Law School Clinic Supervisor and Lecturer Susanna Greenberg who also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Independence Charter School in Philadelphia from 2011 - 2017 and served as its president for two of those years. 

Assistant Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine Rotonya Carr, manages a multi-million-dollar research project that funds liver research and serves as an ad hoc School Advisory Council member, according to The Notebook. 

Mallory Fix Lopez, an applied linguist, previously severed as a mentor instructor to students in Penn's Graduate School of Education for a year and then worked in the University's English Language Program teaching various courses over five years. 

Social Policy and Practice School 2001 master's graduate and nominee Chad Lassiter worked as a social worker at The Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania and serves as the executive director of Red Cross House and Recovery for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Sade Olanipekun-Lewis, a lecturer with Penn's Fels Institute of Governemnt who received her master's in government administration from Penn in 1996, previously worked as the Chief Financial Officer for the School District of Philadelphia. She currently serves as the regional director for government affairs and air service for American Airlines.

Other Penn alumni in the nominee list include 1987 Wharton masters of business administration graduate Stacy Dutton, Laura Boyce, who received her master's degree in Educational Policy in 2009, 1995 Wharton and recipient of a master's degree in government administration in 2006 Lee Huang, Julia Danzy, who received a master's in government in 1989, 1973 College graduate Joyce Wilkerson, Anuj Gupta, who received a master's in government management and law degree in 2003, and recipient of a master's degree in social work in 2000 Leticia Egea-Hinton. 

“I am confident that in the coming weeks I will be able to appoint a knowledgeable, committed and diverse Board of Education that will oversee our schools going forward and ensure that every child in Philadelphia can access a quality education,” Kenney said in a statement

Kenney has until May 18 to make his final decision about the school district board. 

The formation of the new school board comes after Philadelphia regained control of its school district after 16 years of state oversight.  

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