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Go, Johnny, go, Johnny, go, go, go!

By Debbie Wei on Apr 1, 2009 01:28 PM

Helen’s and Len’s blogs on lack of transparency in the SRC process are on point. Philadelphia has always had a Jurassic Age system of an appointed board, unlike most other places in the country where the school board is democratically elected.

But I think there’s great good cause to cheer at least one appointment. Johnny Irizarry is a man with a history of dedication to community, to kids, and to parents. A father of public school graduates, he worked as the executive director of Taller Puertorriqueño, where he was recognized for his community activism and his advocacy for arts in education. He went on to work as my colleague in the District developing a multicultural studies curriculum. He left the District to work in two different charter schools, then moved to being the executive director of The Lighthouse, and now is working at the University of Pennsylvania supporting Latino students and Latino studies.

So he’s been around the block a few times. This is the guy I worked with and know. He’s got heart and passion for our kids and our communities. Not to add pressure to you, Johnny, but this shout out is a confirmation that there will be someone who is going to fight for the things many of us believe in from where he sits.

Comments (2)

Submitted by Helen Gym on April 2, 2009 7:19 am

Johnny has had an amazing history in our city fighting for change and justice on behalf of kids and neighborhoods. As much an intellectual as an activist, he is also well equipped to take on tough questions and issues. But there's no doubt he has his work cut out for him. It'll be up to all of us to make sure we're active enough and dialogue frequently and strongly enough to keep him and everyone else on the SRC honest and accountable.

Submitted by Dianne Santiago (not verified) on April 19, 2009 11:23 pm

Johnny never forgets the kids and their parents in the community. He always thinks about making things better for everyone in the neighborhood. No doubt his work history has shown how much he fights for change and justice for all. I will have to agree with everyone who knows him that Johnny is the right person for the SRC.

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