The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Mayor Cherelle Parker named nine individuals, including three Penn alumni, to serve on the new Philadelphia Board of Education. Credit: Ethan Young

2016 Fels Institute of Government graduate and Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker named three Penn alumni to serve on the new Philadelphia Board of Education.

2012 Wharton and School of Social Policy graduate Chau Wing Lam, 1973 College graduate Joyce Wilkerson, and 1972 College graduate Joan Stern were on the list of nine school board members announced on Monday. Parker's nominations included four current board members and five new members, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

During her time at Penn, Lam received a master of science in social policy and a certificate in business essentials. She has served on the school board since 2022, and she is the operations director of the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Gun Violence Intervention and Coordination Center. Wilkerson, who majored in psychology at Penn, is also a current sitting board member and served as its president from 2018-2022. 

Stern is a newly named board member. After earning a master of science in education from Penn, she went on to work as a public finance attorney and as bond counsel and special counsel to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the city, and the school district.

Parker’s list of nominees includes two other current board members — Reginald Streater and Sarah Ashley Andrews — alongside newcomers Crystal Cubbage, Cheryl Harper, Whitney Jones, and Wanda Novales.

Prior to her announcement, Parker first named 13 individuals to serve on the Educational Nominating Panel, which worked to review the 122 candidates who initially applied to the board. The panel held two public meetings and interviewed each applicant before providing Parker with a list of the final nominees.

There were a number of Penn alumni among the 27 candidates who ran for a position but were not selected, including 2023 Fels Institute of Government graduate Keola Harrington, 2017 GSE graduate Madeline Luebbert, and 1991 School of Nursing graduate Colleen McCauley.

“The panel conducted a rigorous and thorough process to find the most qualified nine individuals ready to serve Philadelphia and every student in our schools through their service on our School Board,” chair of the Educational Nominating Panel Otis Bullock Jr. said in a Mayor's Office press release. “We’re confident the Mayor made the right choices, and we look forward to seeing these individuals confirmed by the City Council and getting to work.”

In the press release on Monday, Parker said that she was proud of the board that she had assembled and was confident that they would help her realize her vision for the city’s future.

“I wanted a school board with a diversity of skills, from different neighborhoods, sectors and communities, some with deep knowledge, some with new ideas, a group that truly reflects my vision of One Philly, a United City,” Parker said.

Her announcement comes amidst the onset of the City Charter-set deadline as Parker is expected to determine her plans for managing the Philadelphia school district’s $4.5 billion budget for the 2024-2025 school year. Her new school board will begin to tackle budget priorities as debates over educational spending persist.

City Council will review Parker's nominations, with the new Board of Education set to be officially seated by May 1.