Superintendent Watlington Announces Updated Organizational Structure for School District

Posted on December 19, 2022
Categories: News from SDP

Philadelphia – Today, Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D., announced a personnel update that will further support efforts to accelerate the District’s efforts to achieve the Board’s Goals and Guardrails and become the fastest improving large, urban school district in the country.

“If we are going to accelerate performance and achieve our goals faster, then we need to be strategic on how we are going to accomplish the Board’s Goals and Guardrails with how we position ourselves,” Superintendent Watlington said. “This requires something different and better in terms of strategy.”

In order to have the most impact on three focus areas (student attendance, teacher attendance and dropout rates), Superintendent Watlington announced additional changes to the reporting structure in the District.

The Academic Division will be reorganized into six offices that report to the Deputy Superintendent for Academics, ShaVon Savage, Esq. The offices will be:

■ Elementary Schools Office – to be led by Evelyn Nuñez, Ed.D. as the Associate Superintendent of Elementary Schools. Nuñez will transition out of her current role as Chief of Schools, which is a role that will be eliminated. As the Associate Superintendent of Elementary Schools, Nuñez will supervise eleven Assistant Superintendents responsible for elementary schools.

■ Secondary Schools Office – to be led by Tomás Hanna, as the Associate Superintendent for Secondary Schools, where he will supervise Assistant Superintendents. Hanna currently serves as the Chief Talent Officer at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and previously served as the Superintendent of Coatesville School District, Chief Human Capital Officer in the New York City Schools, and principal of Kensington High School in Philadelphia.

■ Office of Curriculum and Instruction –the District will conduct a national search for a Chief of Curriculum and Instruction. Until the position is filled, the office will be led by Nyshawana Francis-Thompson, Ed.D., the current Deputy Chief of Curriculum and Instruction, who will serve as interim chief.

■ Office of Professional Learning – to be led by Michael Farrell, Ed.D.asthe Chief Learning Officer. Farrell will transition from his current role as the Deputy Chief for Professional Learning.

■ Office of Special Education and Diverse Learners – the District will conduct a national search for a Chief of Special Education and Diverse Learners. Until the position is filled, Sonya Berry, who serves as the current Deputy Chief of Office of Specialized Services, will serve as interim chief.

■ Office of Student Services and Supports – to continue to be led by Karyn Lynch, Chief of Student Support Services.

In addition, Malika Savoy-Brooks, Ed.D. will transition into the role of Assistant Superintendent for Special Projects, where she will provide support for the implementation of Act 158 and high school graduation requirements, which is a major District priority.

“Given that I never left the City, I am humbled and honored to return to the District and support achieving the Board’s Goals and Guardrails and Dr. Watlington’s vision, which I fully support and believe,” Hanna said. “I’m eager to leverage partnerships with staff, family and community leaders at the secondary level to help prepare our high school students with the skills and strategies they need to pursue their college or career aspirations and explore their options beyond high school.”

On the Operations side, Deputy Superintendent of Operations Uri Monson will be departing in January to become Pennsylvania’s next budget secretary, under Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro. While a nationwide search continues for his replacement, those reporting to him will temporarily report to the superintendent.

Mike Herbstman will fill the vacated Chief Financial Officer role, effective February 13, 2023. Herbstman currently serves as CFO in Prince George’s County School District in Maryland. He previously held roles in Alexandria, VA and Chicago Public Schools. Under his leadership, the District’s budget position transitioned from a structural deficit to fiscal sustainability. Marcy Blender, the District’s current Comptroller, will serve as the interim CFO until Herbstman arrives.

“I am excited for the opportunity to build upon the work of Uri Monson and his finance team at the School District of Philadelphia to improve the District’s finances while making significant investments in students and schools,” Herbstman said. “I look forward to building relationships throughout the city and District to make strategic investments for our students that support the Board’s Goals and Guardrails, as well strive towards achieving Dr. Watlington’s goal to become the fastest improving large, urban school district.”

The personnel changes are budget neutral due to the elimination of a number of vacant positions that Superintendent Watlington froze upon his arrival.

For more information about Dr. Watlington’s transition, please visit