January 24 — 4:03 pm, 2020

Wayne Walker is leaving Board of Education

That means Mayor Kenney will name at least one new member. The deadline to apply has been extended to Jan. 31.

Board of Education Vice President Wayne Walker speaks at the board's Dec. 13 meeting. (Photo: Greg Windle)

It looks like Mayor Kenney will appoint at least one new member to Philadelphia’s Board of Education, now that Vice President Wayne Walker has announced he will not seek re-appointment.

In wake of Walker’s pending departure, the Mayor’s Office of Education has extended the deadline for applying for board membership to next Friday, Jan. 31. The deadline originally was today.

In disclosing the decision, Walker said that he is frequently outside the city due to a family situation.

As with the eight other members, Walker was appointed by Mayor Kenney in April 2018 and began his term on July 2018. That’s when he was elected vice president by his fellow board members; he was re-elected vice president just last month.

He said he would stay on the board until a new member is appointed by the mayor and approved by City Council, a process that will be completed this spring.

In a statement, Walker said it has been an honor to serve on the board.

“I am excited about the strong future ahead for Philadelphia’s public schools and I thank Mayor Kenney for the opportunity to serve.”

Board President Joyce Wilkerson said that Walker “has been a critical help to the Board of Education as we’ve undergone the tremendous task of coming together as a board and learning the complex role of governance.”

Kenney also thanked him for his service, calling him “instrumental in getting our local school board off the ground.”

The Board of Education took control of the District in 2018 after nearly two decades under the state-dominated School Reform Commission. The state seized control of the District in 2001, citing financial and academic distress.

Candidates are vetted by a nominating panel, which is charged with submitting three names to the mayor for each seat, or 27 names in all. All the current members except Walker are seeking reappointment, and there is no indication that Kenney is planning a shakeup. However, the requirement that City Council approve the appointments, which is new this year, could add a new wrinkle to the process.

The nominating panel is headed by Wendell Pritchett, a former member of the SRC and the provost at the University of Pennsylvania.

Walker, who was first in his family to attend college, has a law degree from Catholic University and spent his career in corporate governance and turnaround management.

Applications can be submitted by using the City of Philadelphia’s online form or using paper forms available at City Hall in Room 115 and the Board of Education’s office at 440 N. Broad St.

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