The nominating panel for Philadelphia's soon-to-form school board named an additional 18 candidates, a week after Mayor Kenney asked for a more diverse pool.
The panel now has a list of 45 nominees, from which Kenney must select nine to fill a board that will replace the outgoing School Reform Commission this spring.
Along with increased diversity, Kenney wanted more parents and candidates with education experience to choose from after the nominating panel initially selected 27 candidates last month.
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“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,” he said.
The 45 finalists come from a pool of hundreds of applications the city received.
Under new guidelines established after the School Reform Commission (SRC) voted in November to dissolve itself, Kenney will choose nine people from that list to comprise the new Philadelphia board of education.
The city public education system has dominated Kenney's time recently. The centerpiece of his budget address two weeks ago was a proposal to raise taxes nearly $1 billion over the next five years to help fund the deficit-riddled district.
The initial list included several people with “professional and government experience,” but not enough parents and educators, Kenney said.
Kenney now has 20 days to make his appointments.
Here are the 18 new nominees and their backgrounds, provided by the city (here is a link to a list of the original 27 candidates):
As an immigrant from Singapore, Dawn Ang has lived in Philadelphia since 1998 with her two boys who both attend Philadelphia public schools. She has been a fierce supporter of children with special needs, her one son having special needs of his own. She has organized funding and events for various non-profit organizations, including $2 million in grants and the International Moebius Syndrome Foundation’s largest conference to date.
Catherine Blunt is a lifelong Philadelphian who has committed her life and career to the public schools in Philadelphia. She spent 35 years in the School District, beginning as a teacher and ultimately retiring as the principal of Parkway Center City High School. She graduated from Temple University and received her Principal Certification from Cheyney University. Additionally, Catherine founded the Parkway Program Alumni Scholarship Fund and is an active member of the West Philadelphia High School’s Advisory Council. She is the proud mother and grandmother of Philadelphia public school graduates.
Jenny Bogoni would bring more than 20 years of leadership experience to the Board. She has worked in various nonprofit organizations serving underserved and disconnected youth. She has worked for the National AIDS Fund in Washington, D.C., City Year Greater Philadelphia, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning, After School Activities Partnerships, and the Philadelphia Youth Network. Most recently, she has served as the Founding Executive Director of the Read By 4th Campaign at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Alison Cohen is a proud Philadelphian and product of public schools. After graduating from the University of Virginia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she became a consultant on environmental issues and ultimately co-founded and currently runs Bicycle Transit Systems, a company that leads the nation in deploying and managing urban bike share systems. Alison has experience overseeing large budgets and working with public agencies. She lives with her wife and three young children.
Deborah Diamond is a lifelong Philadelphian who currently leads Campus Philly, an economic development nonprofit whose mission is to engage and retain college talent in Greater Philadelphia. She began her career in academia, teaching political philosophy at Columbia University and Bryn Mawr College. Deborah holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College and an MA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She is a product of Philadelphia public schools and her children attend Philadelphia public schools.
Supreme Dow is the executive director of the Black Writers Museum. This is the only museum of its kind, dedicated solely to the preservation, examination, and celebration of the contributions of African American authors. Supreme has volunteered in his free time in the Philadelphia public schools providing additional instruction to students in both reading and math. He is a product of Philadelphia public schools, and graduated with honors from Lincoln University. He is the proud parent of eight public school students.
Cheryl Harper holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Cheyney University as well as a master’s degree and superintendent’s letter of eligibility from Arcadia University. For the Philadelphia School District, Cheryl has served as the Director of Employment Services, Head Start Instructional Facilitator, and School Assistance Team Case Manager. She has also served the Camden School District as the Executive Director of Human Resources and is now the Student Teacher Site Director for Drexel University’s Department of Education.
Will Jordan is an associate professor of urban education at Temple University, who received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in political science from Stony Brook University. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology and education from Columbia University’s Teachers College. He serves on the board of Big Picture Philadelphia and has served on the board of Arise Charter High School. He has been a resident of Philadelphia for over a decade and has two teenage children.
Reed Lyons is a parent, a former Philadelphia public school student, and the son of two public school teachers. Reed earned a political science degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the George Washington University Law School. He is on the board of Greene Towne Montessori School, the Washington Square West Civic Association, and Operation Understanding. He has worked as an Urban Fellow in the Neighborhood Development Division of the New York City Department of Small Business services. He has also served as an attorney, a real estate manager for Ikea, and currently as the Vice President of Navy Yard Development for the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.
William Peebles graduated from Philadelphia public schools and has since been involved with public schools as a PTA president, treasurer, volunteer, and general member. He was the program director for the Education Leading to Careers and Training (ELECT) program at the School District of Philadelphia, which helps teen parents complete their high school education. He has also worked as Director of the Diversity Apprenticeship Program and more recently as a Contracting Officer overseeing career training for 1,300 at-risk youth. He is a member of the Philadelphia Workforce Board and the University of Pennsylvania Economic Inclusion Committee.
Anna Perng is a longtime Philadelphian who co-founded the Temple University Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Project, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for disabled people across their lifespan and their families. Anna is a mother to two children with disabilities and is a passionate advocate for public school access to special services needed by many children. She also serves as a parent representative on a School Advisory Council. Anna lives with her husband and two children in Philadelphia; her eldest son attends public school while his younger brother attends pre-school.
Brenda Rivera grew up in Philadelphia and currently serves on the boards of Project Home, the Philadelphia Homeless Memorial Planning Committee, and the City of Philadelphia Homeless Death Review. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social work from Temple University. She has worked as a Unit Director and Director of Home-Based Services at the Supportive Child Adult Network and as Program Manager for the Horizon House. Brenda’s children have collectively attended these schools (among others): Lawrence Dunbar, Julia Reynolds Masterman, Bodine High School for International Affairs, and George Washington High School.
Michael Smith is a longtime resident of Philadelphia with 11 years of high school teaching experience and 30 years of experience at the post-secondary level. He oversees a Pathways Project at Frankford High School which prepares 11th and 12th grade students for the rigors of college reading and writing. Some of his work with National Geographic School Publishing has been adopted by the School District of Philadelphia, such as at the 2017 ESOL/Bilingual Summer Institute.
Andrew Stober earned his Bachelor of Science in business administration from Northeastern University before receiving his master’s degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has served on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Temple University Institute of Survey Research, and the Passayunk Square Civic Association. He was the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and currently serves as the Vice President of Planning and Economic Development for the University City District. His son will begin Kindergarten at a Philadelphia neighborhood school this September.
Katherine Stratos worked for the School District of Philadelphia as a Data Analyst, Research Associate, and Senior Research Associate and Project Manager in the Office of Research and Evaluation. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from James Madison University and her Master of Science in social policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She has served on the board of the Bethesda Project and founded and is the president of the Friends of Waring Elementary group. She currently works as a Director of Government Affairs and Analytics for Comcast NBCUniversal.
An immigrant from Mexico, Fernando Treviño has lived in Philadelphia for 16 years and both his children attend the Andrew Jackson School. Fernando earned a law degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and a postgraduate certificate in international and comparative law from Temple University. He was the Pennsylvania State Director for Operation Vote and has served as Advisor to the Mayor, Deputy Executive Director, and Transition Advisor for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs. He has also been the PA Director of Constituency Outreach and Partnerships for the For Our Future PAC.
Wayne Walker is the president of Walker Nell Partners, Inc, an international business consulting firm with a focus on corporate governance, turnaround management, corporate restructuring and bankruptcy matters. Wayne has extensive experience sitting on the boards of large and complex organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the National Philanthropic Trust.
Christina Wong grew up in her family’s business, the Chinatown Learning Center. She learned firsthand how access to a quality neighborhood school offered opportunities and a future for many immigrant families. Today, she is the Vice President of ESM Productions, a live-event production and broadcast company headquartered in Philadelphia. Additionally, Christina is very active in the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. She also spends her free time volunteering at public schools in her neighborhood and speaks to students about college readiness.