August 27 — 10:26 am, 2019

Lee Whack leaving as School District spokesman

He will move into fundraising to support Chalkbeat's Newark and New York City bureaus.

Lee Whack with a student at Spruance Elementary School in June.

Lee Whack is leaving his post as spokesperson for the School District of Philadelphia at the end of this week.

Whack has accepted a position in the development office of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization that covers education in seven U.S. cities and has plans to expand. He will be raising funds to support the bureaus in New York City and Newark, N.J.

“I certainly have mixed emotions about no longer serving as spokesman for the School District of Philadelphia,” Whack said in a statement. “Under Dr. William R. Hite’s strong leadership, Philadelphia schools have made considerable progress over the last three years, and I have been proud to help tell that story and focus on the need for improvements.”

Superintendent Hite said he was sorry to see Whack go.

“When you have good people, people come after your good people,” Hite said. “I would love to see him stay. I wish him well.”

Whack, a native of Chicago, served as the press secretary for the Democratic National Campaign Committee before working for the District. He was also spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) and worked in communications for the DC Housing Finance Agency and the Illinois State Senate.

He is a graduate of Morehouse College and has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

“Going forward, I am thrilled that I will remain in the education space,” he said, adding that “smart, solution-oriented, local journalism about education” is a valuable service. At Chalkbeat, he said, he would “stay focused on shining a bright light on creating better education systems for all, especially the underprivileged.”

The Notebook and Chalkbeat are currently in talks about future partnership opportunities.

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