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Jerry Wells with Mayor Kenney

Source: Justin Engelhardt / Justin Engelhardt Local governance of the School District of Philadelphia is here.

To applause and cheers, the city’s new, nine-member Board of Education held its first public meeting on a “historic” Monday night, as Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. termed it — seven months after Mayor Kenney announced the city was taking back control of its schools.

A crowd that roundly booed the School Reform Commission, the board’s predecessor, seemed to welcome the new governing body with open arms and enormous expectations. The board seemed to distance itself from the SRC, moving itself closer physically to the audience, vowing to hold meetings around the city, and informally meeting with members of the public after the formal session.

“You are the hope for this community,” Rich Migliore, a retired Philadelphia educator, said in public testimony. His voice choked with tears.

Its first order of business was electing leaders. Joyce Wilkerson, a former SRC chair with long government experience, was unanimously elected president. Wayne Walker, an expert in nonprofit management and corporate turnarounds, was elected vice president by a 5-4 vote.


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