Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Philadelphia has a historic moment now to choose a new leader. After Constance Clayton, David Hornbeck and Paul Vallas, who are we looking for? The three finalists are currently Arlene Ackerman, former superintendent of schools in San Francisco and Washington DC; Kent McGuire, Dean of Temple’s College of Education; and Leroy Nunery, a former official with Edison Schools Inc. who headed Edison’s School Management and Charter Schools division. (Check out Parents United's website for a list of articles on the public record about the finalists --

A citizens committee of some 40 individuals representing interests as diverse as parents, business, city and state officials and youth groups (including Parents United) has an opportunity to interview the candidates in January. The SRC hopes to announce the CEO by the end of the month.

What are your thoughts about the next CEO? What kind of qualifications should they have? What are the top priorities for us as parents? What more information would you like to see about the top three candidates?


Parents United said...

I would like to see Tom Brady get a chance. We've had some pretty good experiences with Mr. Brady during his term - he has been open to working with parents and has shown himself to have a good and productive attitude to the job. I hope the SRC will consider looking at keeping the man already in the position.

David said...

With Kent McGuire out of consideration, my first impression is that Arlene Ackerman is the far better candidate.

Her record in San Francisco shows that she has already had success in a superintendent position. Her leadership was met with some resistance and controversy, but that is to be expected when a leader attempts to make significant change.

Nunnery has far less education experience and his connection to Edison casts doubt on whether he could be impartial in dealing with Edison as one of many companies running charters.

After a brief glimpse of the articles provided by Parents United, Ackerman appears to be a much stronger candidate.

Rev. David Eckert
First United Methodist Church of Germantown

Parent, Mifflin Elementary

Anne said...

While I agree that Ackerman is far more qualified than Nunnery for the position, neither one seems a good fit for Philadelphia. Specifically, the charges leveled against Ackerman in SF, particularly around her ability to form strong working relationships with parents and other stakeholders, suggest that she would not necessarily be a team player. In recent months, the SRC has taken many steps to make its decision-making processes more transparent. The new budget website, for example, is an encouraging sign. I would like to see a leader who is committed to continuing to foster a climate of openness and accountability. Ackerman's history suggests that she may not be this person.

At this point, I believe that the search should be re-opened to include not only Cassandra Jones (who recently threw her hat in the ring), but other candidates as well.

Anne Pomerantz
Parent, Powel School