Philadelphia mayor’s top education official to depart – Chalkbeat Philadelphia

by | Oct 19, 2022 | Education

Philadelphia’s Chief Education Officer will leave his position at Mayor Jim Kenney’s office at the end of this month to become the new head of the I Have A Dream Foundation, Kenney’s office confirmed Wednesday.Otis Hackney, who has led the mayoral office of education since 2015, helped launch the city’s PHLpreK program in 2017  for three- and four-year-olds, and also helped start PHLConnectED, which offers free Internet services for students’ families.The former principal of South Philadelphia High School is scheduled to start his new position Nov. 7 leading the foundation in New York City. It offers mentoring and support to students whose families are struggling with poverty and helps get them to college. One of Hackney’s biggest tasks came five years ago, when he assisted the mayor in returning public schools to local control under Philadelphia’s Board of Education. Hackney has supported the school board’s strategic plan unveiled in late 2020, and backs the mayoral appointment of board members rather than having them elected.

“I think this group has managed and weathered numerous storms. They are a very independent group, we do not overstep with them,” Hackney said in an interview with Chalkbeat, referring to the city school board’s members. “But we do make sure that in terms of the choices that the mayor is able to make, that these folks are individuals ready to serve, and work with the other members of the board.”Meanwhile, the PHLpre-K program now serves 4,500 students, which is short of Kenney’s initial pledge that it would serve 6,500 students a year when the mayor first propos …

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