Philadelphia school board pushes back superintendent announcement to next week

Published 5:28 pm Thursday, March 24, 2022

SALISBURY – The School District of Philadelphia Board of Education announced it will not make a decision on its next superintendent this week, not answering whether Rowan-Salisbury Schools will need a new leader.

The board told reporters it planned to make a decision this week, but during its Thursday meeting the board’s vice president Leticia Egea-Hinton gave an update on the search, saying the board will move forward with the decision and will “share more about this decision next week.”

Egea-Hinton said the board will “provide more information just as soon as we have information to share.”

RSS Superintendent Tony Watlington is one of three finalists for the position announced two weeks ago. The finalists visited Philadelphia last week for a day of panel discussions and ended the day with a town hall meeting open to the public. All were live streamed.

Agea-Hinton said thousands of people watched or participated in the candidate meetings.

Watlington was in Philadelphia on Wednesday for his own sessions. He talked about some familiar points like specific goals and focusing on good teaching. At one point he asked questions of a panel and said he just wanted to spend time listening.

He made it clear more than once during the day he is not from Philadelphia and said he wants to be active in the community. If hired, he would serve a population of about 200,000 students and replace outgoing superintendent William Hite, who has held the role for a decade.

The other two candidates are Krish Mohip, deputy chief education officer for Illinois, and John Davis, Baltimore’s chief of schools.

On Saturday, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a story pointing to interviews with a principal, a policy adviser, a local home school council president, a student, a Philadelphia city council member, the president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, a parent, a local schools coalition and a teacher. All favored Watlington for the job.

Watlington started with Rowan-Salisbury Schools on Jan. 11, 2021, after being selected by the district board in December. On Feb. 28, the district launched its new strategic plan, which Watlington immediately pointed to as a priority when he started with the district.

“Of course there have been conversations between the community and people just wondering,” RSS Board Chair Dean Hunter said.

The next RSS board meeting is Monday and Hunter said part of a closed session will include an update on the superintendent. Closed session discussions are not open to the public and include issues like legal proceedings and personnel issues the state does not define as public information.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

email author More by Carl