Kenney now has a list of candidates for Philadelphia’s school board

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Mayor Jim Kenney now has a list of nine candidates to fill the three vacant seats on Philadelphia’s school board. The mayor is expected to make his selections within a week.

The mayor’s nominating panel whittled down a pool of 82 applicants and has now given him nine names from which he’ll pick three to serve on the school board.

The nine are:

College administrator Karima Bouchenafa, who is currently assistant director for the Honors Institute at Jefferson University. She has held leadership positions at Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught at other Philadelphia colleges. She attended Philadelphia public schools from elementary school to high school.

Community engagement specialist Tariem Burroughs, who has worked at Temple University School of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Philadelphia Fight and Public Health Management Center.

Santander Bank vice president Natalia Dominguez Buckley, who has served on the board of The Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She has also received an award from the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2020 Minority Business Leaders Awards.

Former Madison Square Garden executive Gavin Keirans, who is now a partner at Rox Strategy, a management consulting business. He is the founder and president of the Philadelphia Catholic League Service Corps. He attended Philadelphia public schools as a child.

Racial equity consultant Azeb Kinder, who is CEO of the Kinder Group. Before this, she was a teacher and administrator in the School District of Philadelphia. She also attended Philadelphia public schools.

Bartram graduate and former teachers union head John “Jack” Lynch. He was president of the Wallingford Swarthmore Education Association from 2008 until June 2020 and served as lead negotiator for three collective bargaining agreements.

Former mechanical engineer Lisa Salley, a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls. She was a mechanical engineer at Fortune 50 companies before taking on more executive roles.

Attorney Reginald Streater, who is also vice president of the Greater Philadelphia ACLU Executive Board. He attended Leeds Middle School and Germantown High School.

Special education activist Cecelia Thompson, who is chairperson of the Philadelphia Right to Education Local Task Force and secretary for the Governors Special Education Advisory Panel. She is also a commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities. She is currently a family interviewer under the Philadelphia System of Care and has previously worked with the school district. She has also attended Philadelphia public schools.

The panel voted on its selections Wednesday with no public debate.  Eight of the nine public speakers at the session criticized the panel’s lack of transparency. Former teacher Lisa Haver said there should have been more educators among the nominees.

“We heard bankers, we heard 'edupreneurs,' we heard somebody wants to build human capital?” Haver said. “We need educators. We need parents. We need education activists. The board we have now is a rubber stamp for the administration.”

The mayor has 10 days to ask the panel for more names, if he wishes.  He has to submit his three school board choices to City Council for approval.