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February 23, 2022

School District of Philadelphia to hold public forums as search for new superintendent continues

Students, teachers, principals and parents will be selected to vet the remaining candidates in a series of meetings next month

Education Schools
School District of Philadelphia superintendent search Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

The School District of Philadelphia will hold a series of public forums next month before selecting its new superintendent this spring.

The School District of Philadelphia is planning to unveil the finalists in its months-long superintendent search in March. 

But before William Hite's successor is selected, the board of education is once again asking the public to help determine which candidate would be best to lead the city's public school system.

A series of public forums will be held next month where different groups will have the opportunity to meet with each of the applicants and ask questions.

While details regarding exactly when the meetings will take place haven't been released, an in-person, live-streamed town hall for all city residents and small sessions geared specifically towards members of the school district community will be included.

A group of 32 participants will be selected to take part in the smaller sessions, both in-person and virtually. The group will consist of 10 high school students, 11 teachers and principals and 11 parents and guardians. An additional 11 students selected by principals will participate too.

Nominations are open through Feb. 28, and those selected will be notified by March 9. All participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The candidates will also be meeting with school district stakeholders while visiting Philadelphia next month.

Each of the small group meetings will be live-streamed via Facebook. Anyone who wishes to submit a question for the finalists to answer can do so by emailing 

"The upcoming public meetings and town halls are the next opportunity for Philadelphians to participate in the process," Board of Education President Joyce Wilkerson said in a statement. "The process is ongoing and we are actively meeting with very impressive candidates who truly are aligned with the job profile that reflects what Philadelphians have said they want and need in the next superintendent."

The search for a new superintendent began this past fall following Hite's announcement that he would step down this June after leading the school district for 10 years. He is set to become the CEO of education nonprofit KnowledgeWorks, and serve as the inaugural superintendent in residence and executive fellow at the Broad Center at Yale University’s School of Management, Chalkbeat reported.

The process commenced with a series of in-person and virtual listening sessions to gather insight from school district community members and Philly residents into what they wanted to see in the next superintendent. The school district also published an accompanying survey that officials say garnered more than 6,000 responses.

Interviews with both national and local candidates have taken place throughout the winter. The process is being led by an advisory committee consisting of representatives from the school district, local charter schools, parents, students and other community stakeholders.

At one point, more than 400 people were under consideration before the pool of candidates was narrowed last month, the school district said. Each of the remaining candidates has experience working in education, leading major organizations and working with diverse communities.

A new superintendent is expected to be named this spring and officially start in August ahead of next school year.

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