PSBA 2021 Bulletin November/December PSBA 2021 Bulletin November/December - Page 31

member profile

member profile

Joyce S . Wilkerson , board president at the School District of Philadelphia since 2017
What motivated you to become involved in board service ? My professional background is in affordable housing , municipal management and government . I was , among other things , chief of staff for the City of Philadelphia and executive director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority after Hurricane Katrina . I understand how bureaucracy works and how it can get in the way of serving students , and I also know how to make it work better . Joining the Board of Education was an unmissable opportunity to be able to use my experience and skills on behalf of the people I believe in most in the world , the children of Philadelphia .
What issue in public education is most important to you right now ? It is time that we have higher expectations for our most underserved students and specifically , our Black and Brown students . In Pennsylvania , our laws are set up to give students living in our poorest zip codes the least of everything . I don ’ t know how we can keep allowing that to happen without admitting that it is a reflection of our own expectations for them . I believe that the students in Philadelphia , no matter what corner of the city they live in , are capable of excellence ; and it is time for us adults to start stepping up and treating them that way .
What is your biggest passion outside of board service ? I love many things , including being in my garden surrounded by my neighbors or trying out new and adventurous recipes . However , my biggest passion is travel . I love to explore new places and meet new people in parts of the world where people think and act differently from myself .
Where do you work / volunteer and what is your job ? In addition to volunteering on the Board of Education , I serve on the board of Scribe Video Center and Project Home . Scribe seeks to explore , develop and advance the use of electronic media as artistic media and as tools for progressive social change . Project Home works to empower adults , children and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty .
Where did you graduate from high school ? Shaker Heights High School outside of Cleveland , OH .
What was your favorite extracurricular activity when you were in school and / or your favorite subject ? I have always loved equestrian sports . For most of my life , though not currently , I have ridden horses . History was always my favorite subject .
What aspect of your education has changed the most ( or not at all ) since you were a student ? I have a law degree . I attended UC Berkeley and , paradoxically , received a very traditional legal education . Its website now boasts of a real-world multidisciplinary focus . That was not the education I was exposed to many decades ago .
November / December 2021 PSBA Bulletin 29