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Sylvia Simms will replace Cary on SRC

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 28, 2013 03:33 PM

Mayor Nutter  has named parent activist Sylvia Simms to replace Lorene Cary on the School Reform Commission.

Simms, who was a District bus attendant for 15 years, said she was "honored," "excited," and "surprised" by the appointment.

In a statement, Nutter said that Simms "will bring an incredibly important and unique perspective to educational advocacy" to the SRC.

In a brief interview,  Simms said she plans to assemble a parent committee to advise her, including representatives of the Home and School association and other organizations.

"My focuses are parent and family engagement," she said. She wants to make sure School Advisory Councils are established in all District schools.

Simms is the founder and president of the group Parent Power, which works on behalf of children's rights and on improving education for underserved students.

Nutter said that Simms "will bring her experience and knowledge as community leader, parent, former School District employee and graduate to the children and school community.  As a proud public school parent myself, I know that Sylvia understands from a grassroots level how important it is to educate our children."

Cary, first appointed in 2011, took a medical leave from the SRC, and her term expires this month. She decided not to seek reappointment.

Simms left the District in December and now works with Comcast and the Urban Affairs Coalition as an outreach coordinator on expanding broadband access.

Nutter also reappointed Wendell Pritchett, the chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden.

Simms will be sworn in Feb. 21, in time to vote on school-closing recommendations, now scheduled for March 7.

 

 

 

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Comments (51)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 2:49 pm
http://articles.philly.com/2011-04-16/news/29425419_1_mcgeehan-parent-po... Sylvia yelled and screamed at everyone and defended Ackerman the entire time. http://articles.philly.com/2011-04-16/news/29425419_1_mcgeehan-parent-po...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 3:58 pm
Not to mention participated in a Philadelphia School Partnership sham photo op "school choice tour" that included Penn Alexander, of all schools: http://articles.philly.com/2012-11-30/news/35437263_1_school-partnership... Sad that Parent Power could be bought like that for a couple goodie bags.
Submitted by Annoy (not verified) on January 28, 2013 3:40 pm
Ackerman's supporters were bought and paid for by Ackerman's communications machine. Is this part of Nutter's "i-can't-be-bothered-to-show-up-at-any-meetings" solution? Not good, not good.
Submitted by Rosemarie Frost Hatcher (not verified) on January 28, 2013 3:48 pm
Congratulations Sylvia on a new venture. Children first always.
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on January 28, 2013 4:20 pm
thanks for not choosing the hemoglobin.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 4:23 pm
Congrats to Ms. Simms and good luck with your new task. Lorene Cary was a great SRC member, an absolute advocate for children and parents, and gave her heart and health to the SDP.
Submitted by Real (not verified) on January 28, 2013 5:52 pm
Another clown. Great. I think the best option would be to disband the SRC. It's been corrupt and decimated our schools. But this has been said before...
Submitted by Mark (not verified) on January 28, 2013 5:10 pm
http://articles.philly.com/2011-04-16/news/29425419_1_mcgeehan-parent-po...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 5:19 pm
This has got to be interesting with an SRC member being a bus aide and an Ackerman supporter. What a brilliant mind to be placed on a supposed significant panel of 5!
Submitted by Anonymous on January 28, 2013 6:43 pm
If only this were a sincere effort by the Mayor to create a well rounded SRC, which will most likely be disbanded in the near future. Let's see how this new endeavor takes shape as Ms. Simms becomes disenfranchised as a result of secret SRC meetings that do not include her. Hmmm...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 6:34 pm
I wonder from which college she graduated.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 7:32 pm
She did not graduate from a college. Your point? The previous and current SRC members are well educated and things are still a mess. I don't see why a college degree is really required.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 8:43 pm
A college degree is not required but a finely honed BS meter, confidence to stand up to said BS and ability to interpret complex balance sheets and resolutions should be. Go back and watch the SRC video of Dworetzky challenging Darden on the charter expansion numbers having done his own calculation and coming to a different sum. (Side note: why wasn't Feather "beancounter with a heart" Houstoun all over that as well?) What I know about Sylvia Simms is that she was out there at Ackerman's heavily-financed and orchestrated events whereas Helen Gym was at City Council challenging the ever-increasing Communications item in the School District budget that bought and paid for those events. Who do you think should be on the SRC?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 9:54 pm
" I don't see why a college degree is really required." I find it difficult to respond to some one who doesn't "see" the considerable advantage a college education affords S.R.C. board members. So, May I ask you, who would you rather cook your dinner? A chef, or a bus driver? How about your taxes? Are they prepared by an accountant or a bus driver? < http://0.tqn.com/d/humor/1/0/v/H/-/-/finance-dog-tennis-balls.jpg >
Submitted by Sans Degree (not verified) on January 29, 2013 9:56 am
"So, May I ask you, who would you rather cook your dinner? A chef, or a bus driver? How about your taxes? Are they prepared by an accountant or a bus driver?" Those kinds of illogical deductions are so very silly and truly speak to a restrictive mind! As if the bestowing of a degree or a title automatically makes a person an expert or competent at their job/career! If the bus driver (or bus attendant, to be more accurate in this case) can cook an awesome 5-course dinner or do iron-clad taxes better than persons with the title of "chef" or "accountant", guess who I am going to choose? Why? Because I believe in (1) my own powers of observation; (2) giving people a chance to prove themselves; and (3) that titles/degrees are most comforting (and usually falsely so) only to those who lack true intelligence. I do not know Mrs. Simms well enough to say that I believe she will do a bad job, but I sincerely doubt whether or not she does will have anything to do with whether or not she has a degree. If nothing else, working with people "multiple degrees" has shown me that the letters after your name in many cases has little impact on common sense, integrity and compassion... and even plain, old intelligence. I wish Mrs. Simms the best of luck in her new position. My hope is that she can connect to the many parents in the district who feel disenfranchised by the difficult and unpopular changes being made. I also hope that she can protect and guide some of their core interests. It will not be an easy task.
Submitted by Mark (not verified) on January 29, 2013 11:19 am
I've watched her. She is definitely not a chef or accountant.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2013 6:33 am
Careful... many bright and successful people never went to or finished college. Think Gates, Jobs, Lincoln, Rockefeller, Ford, etc. Let's not prejudge.
Submitted by Mark (not verified) on January 29, 2013 8:43 pm
It's not prejudging. You need only watch her in interviews and read her quotes. She is explosive, and has no educational experience. Mayor Nutter is a clown and couldn't care less about the schools.
Submitted by JUDITH ROBINSON (not verified) on January 28, 2013 7:37 pm
DIVIDE AND CONQUER MOVE !! MR.MAYOR ! What is next ,EDUCATION for the youth of North Philly ??!! If Parents are TrULY Empowered that is the demand .
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2013 8:03 pm
Here we are with a potential 5 year deficit of $1 billion and Mayor Nutter obviously doesn't take the SRC panel seriously. Don't we need some credibility here?
Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on January 29, 2013 9:52 am
Seriously? THIS is what Nutter thinks about his, and therefore our, representative voice at the SRC? Ms. Simms may well prove more effective than her questionable resume of activism indicates, but in a city with stellar schools of education, marginalized leaders (Helen, where are you?) and a group with 0 collective knowledge about how public education works, this is the best that can be found? Save time, surrender to the pirates. Just hand over all pretense of having public funds used for public schools that accept and teach ALL children
Submitted by tom-104 on January 29, 2013 9:50 am
It is no accident that the nationwide assault on public education would include the appointment of people who have no background in education. Isn't it ironic that we decry our schools are in crisis and at the same time we devalue education? Don't you see the connection? Last year we had Bill Gates and Arne Duncan traveling around the country holding press conferences to say teachers getting a Masters Degree is a waste of money. Our education policy is being set by Bill Gates, who dropped out of college, and Eli Broad, who was a real estate magnet with no background in education. Simply because they were able to accumulate huge amounts of wealth under certain historic and economic conditions they are the makers of policy in areas they know nothing about. An invading army could not do any better at destroying the foundation of our democracy, an educated populace.
Submitted by eileen difranco (not verified) on January 29, 2013 11:36 am
Seems as if Helen Gym might have been the very best choice. She is a seasoned and tireless advocate for children.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2013 2:15 pm
@Tom YOU NAILED IT.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2013 2:08 pm
Aah yes the Ackerman cheerleader, it rings a bell now. We were supposed to be moving AWAY from this but is anyone really surprised?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2013 8:07 pm
Sylvia P Simms just resigned from the SDOP and got a job at Comcast for how much? Coincidence huh? She owes PGW $800 for an unpaid lien. She can't manage her own little pocketbook how can she be expected to be 1 of a 5 member SRC panel for billions? Nutter earns his nickname of NUTT with this one.
Submitted by Annoy (not verified) on January 30, 2013 1:00 am
I assume the company/organization an SRC member works for agrees to a "flexible" schedule. If Ms. Simms still worked for the School District as a bus aid she would not have any flexibility in her schedule. Comcast probably hired her because of her for increasing the number of low income household signed up for their $10/month internet access program because of her work with Parents Power. Since she will serve on the SRC, her work hours will be flexible. (Considering the nature of the job, they probably were already). No teacher will ever servie on the SRC because none have a flexible work schedule. Since Ms. Simms owes PGW money, I wonder if she also owes property taxes? ALL SRC members should be check for back property taxes.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 5:54 am
Simms does not appear to owe property taxes and owns two properties with a total tax bill of about $680/year. Give her credit for that, at least. Sadly blowing off PGW is something of a pastime among our city's "leaders." Off the top of my head, Blondell Reynolds Brown herself, Latrice Bryant staffer to Goode, Marty Cabry staffer to Blackwell all have had the city sue them for unpaid utility bills. Basically, any time some city employee is in the news, pop their name into the Philadelphia Civil Docket and you'll find something. All of the city employees above also had difficulty paying their mortgages if I recall right. Money management is not their strong suit. Cabry in particular stiffed the city on real estate taxes for years. Explains why the city is in the shape it's in.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 5:42 am
She gave up a good pension and several years at the SDOP for her new job at Comcast. What is her salary and benefits? Who made this deal for only a high school graduate? I love that my Comcast bill pays for her salary based upon someone's political influence. I don't think she owns any property in Philadelphia to pay taxes on. She is not an accomplished enough person at 52 to be on the SRC. Parents Power is nothing but a bunch of loud mouths. If you were as accomplished as the other 4 members would you want to serve with her and have to explain things to her.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 6:27 am
Not knowing her personally or professionally, I can only say that I am worried about her ability to fully comprehend, deliberate, then properly vote on complex issues that impact two hundred thousand children and adults. Will she simply be a proxy vote for Nutter or his cabinet? Where is Helen on this?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 7:51 am
She wont be able to read and understand the board resolutions..if she even know what they are. What disrespect to our educational system.
Submitted by Jay Cohen, District Parent (not verified) on January 30, 2013 9:00 am
Congratulations Sylvia! It is about time we had someone who actually had the heart and ability to tap into the power of a network of thousands of actual school district families. Through her network - which includes families from magnet, city-wide, and neighborhood schools - Sylvia's power is her ability to work with families from every type of school and parent organization to help bring about real improvements in Philadelphia's education system.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 10:31 am
Sylvia Simms was fired by the School District of Phila. due to her neglect of students on her bus. This is not the person we need to make important decisions regarding the future of our children. Sylvia must know a lot of people but she does not know anything else.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 8:47 pm
It that is true, the SRC will have to vote on her termination and by that point she may already be a member.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 11:06 am
Sylvia Simms is supported by Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams. Williams is a proponent of vouchers. http://articles.philly.com/2011-11-21/news/30425097_1_parent-power-faceb... Vouchers are mostly for sectarian schools which is an open violation of the state Constitution: Article III Section 15. No money raised for the support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 2:56 pm
Yes, I saw that Senator Wlliams is buddying up with Mayor Nutter. Williams is a shill of the big money interests who want to privatize public schools. Vouchers can be used for non-sectarian private schools. That is all part of the game plan. Watch what happens. This is good evidence that we must move forward to an elected school board and do away with the SRC. Look at the mess it has created.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 3:24 pm
Two questions for Ms. Simms: Are you still allied with Senator Williams, and if so, are you a proponent of privatization and vouchers? Did you promise the Mayor that you would vote for the school closings if appointed?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 31, 2013 6:02 am
Her sister is Quibila Devine. Let's see how long it is before she gets hired back with a pay raise. I love the way the use taxpayers' money.
Submitted by Annoy (not verified) on January 31, 2013 8:46 am
Who is Quibila Devine?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 10:15 am
Quibila Divine was the director of the Parent and Community Resource Center under Ackerman. She obviously steered contracts for parent engagement to her sister, Sylvia Simms, to the tune of $14K: http://www.phila.gov/mayor/school/110617_SDP_Employees_Who_Are_Vendors_F... Who else but the connected in Philadelphia founds an organization and immediately gets a five figure contract with the School District? What services did Sylvia Simms provide in exchange for all that money? As others have posted above, as soon as the Ackerman money dried up Simms pretended to have learned something and immediately sidled up with Tony Williams for funding and now the Philadelphia School Partnership. It is great that the School Reform Commission will have a parent advocate on it but we should all ask just what kind of parent advocate? From this information, Sylvia Simms appears to be a parent advocate for hire to the highest bidder. Why didn't The Notebook reporting this? It took me all of five minutes of searching to find the contract information.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 12:17 pm
Yes, it is a sad state of affairs. What is saddest is that the SRC, Lori Shoor and the mayor have lost their credibility. It is time to repeal Act 46, the SRC, and mayoral control of schools. Their failure is clearly evident by the total state of devastation our school district is in, and what is saddest of them all, is that our district is in a state of "moral bankruptcy." It is time to "move forward" to remove our children from "beneath the wheel" of politics and for us to move into the 21st century in our notions of school governance. The way to move forward into the 21st century is to move forward to "a democratically elected school board" which is taken out of the hands of local politicians pursuant to a "non partisan" election process. All of the players in the governance of our schools have vested interests in what is going on and their relationships are questionable.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 1:21 pm
I've heard the locally elected school board argument before and see why it appeals to people in theory. However, I'm not sure Philly will do any better picking school board members the same way we do with traffic judges - piles of cash to ward leaders to ensure votes. Willie Singletary, anyone?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 2:34 pm
Do traffic judges have to run for election and be accountable to the community? Why not have the School District divided into districts and each school board member represent the schools in their district?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 3:22 pm
Yes, traffic court judges are elected! Perhaps you have heard how they all got indicted recently after fixing tickets at the request of ward leaders? They get into office and stay there by buying off the ward leaders who tell people who to vote for. I wouldn't call that accountability to the community! http://articles.philly.com/2013-02-02/news/36686562_1_william-hird-phila... Just imagine the accountability possibilities with the elected school board member of the West district handpicked by our Ward Leaders, Jannie Blackwell (Ward 46) and Vivian Miller (Ward 51) - she of the $1 billion missing from the Clerk of Quarter sessions! http://articles.philly.com/2010-03-09/news/24956722_1_civic-groups-city-...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 3:34 pm
We need a new political party that represents the people!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 4:26 pm
That is why we need non-partisan school board elections.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 4:13 pm
Yes just imagine the unelected school board members hand picked by Governor Corbett.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 8:36 pm
I fail to see the locally elected option as an improvement.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 16, 2014 9:47 pm

Did she help our students on 10-16-14?  She was supposed to be a leader.  Turns out she is just as corrupt as they come. Kuddos to those students for having the ability to stay calm while being confronted with such ingnorance!  Do not dare try to steal the confidence of a child who is standing up for that in what they believe!

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 16, 2014 9:54 pm

Did she help our students on 10-16-14?  She was supposed to be a leader.  Turns out she is just as corrupt as they come. Kuddos to those students for having the ability to stay calm while being confronted with such ingnorance!  Do not dare try to steal the confidence of a child who is standing up for that in what they believe!

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 16, 2014 9:56 pm

Did she help our students on 10-16-14?  She was supposed to be a leader.  Turns out she is just as corrupt as they come. Kuddos to those students for having the ability to stay calm while being confronted with such ingnorance!  Do not dare try to steal the confidence of a child who is standing up for that in what they believe!

 

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