The Board Welcomes Three New Members
The Board of Education welcomes three new Board Members who were sworn in by Mayor Jim Kenney on February 19, 2021. The new Board Members, who share a commitment to improving public education for the city’s children, are Lisa Salley, Reginald L. Streater and Cecelia Thompson.
“On behalf of the Board, I welcome our new colleagues who bring diverse voices and valuable experience to the table,” said Board President Joyce S. Wilkerson. “They will be joining the Board of Education at a critical moment for the School District, as we sharpen our focus on the academic success of all our students through the Board’s adoption of Goals and Guardrails.”
Ms. Salley, a metallurgical engineer and senior business executive, currently advises Arduro on its intellectual property, product strategy and commercialization. Arduro is a cleantech start-up, materials science company that develops, manufactures and commercializes recycled carbon black. Ms. Salley has spent her career in corporate America leading global strategy and operations in Energy, Specialty Chemicals, and Emerging Technologies, which includes officer-level roles at GE, Underwriters’ Laboratories and the American Petroleum Institute. Additionally, she has advised advanced stage start-ups. Her collegiate background includes a Bachelor of Science in metallurgical and materials engineering as well as a Master of Science in simulation and modeling of manufacturing systems from Carnegie Mellon University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, respectively. In addition, Ms. Salley completed grade school at St. Athanasius in West Oak Lane, junior high school at Masterman and graduated from Philadelphia High School for Girls. Although her career has literally taken her all over the world, Ms. Salley has never lost sight of the community or her desire to create paths that help sustain future generations. In this regard, she is a Silver Star member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a member of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, where she has continually engaged in youth-focused and small business community service initiatives. She is also an alum of Leadership Philadelphia.
“Now, more than ever, our schools need our undivided attention,” Ms. Salley said. “We must provide all of our children the confidence to learn and an education that prepares them to be global citizens who embrace technology to make a positive impact on society. I seek to serve as a member on the Board of Education in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection to help ensure that our youth are prepared for tomorrow’s challenges. They are depending on us and we cannot disappoint them. I am thankful and humbled by Mayor Kenney’s appointment.”
Mr. Streater is an attorney at Berger Montague, PC., in Philadelphia, practicing in the Employment and Unpaid Wage and Consumer Protection groups. He previously worked as an attorney at Archer and Greiner, as a Federal Judicial Honors Clerk for the Honorable Chief Judge Theodore McKee in the Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Mr. Streater serves as Vice President of the Greater Philadelphia ACLU Executive Board and has spearheaded an effort to make the ACLU more accessible to the Black community by planning and implementing programming and outreach in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Rho Chapter, and executive board member to the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Mr. Streater engages in various community service initiatives. He is a graduate of Philadelphia public schools, having attended Leeds Middle School and Germantown High School. In addition, he is a parent to two children who currently attend a Philadelphia public school.
“I am humbled to be one of the three names selected by Mayor Kenney to serve the Philadelphia community on the Board of Education,” said Mr. Streater. “I truly believe that public education should be considered not only a civil right, but also a human right. To serve Philadelphia in this manner is something I do not take lightly. As such, a quote that encapsulates my worldview as a servant-leader is: ‘I am because WE are and, since we are, therefore I am’ by John S. Mbiti.”
Ms. Thompson, a Philadelphia native and longtime special education advocate, is the proud parent of a 22-year-old son living with autism who is a recent graduate of the Philadelphia public school system. She serves as a Family Interviewer through the University of Pennsylvania under the Philadelphia System of Care and has previously served as a Community Education Outreach Coordinator at the Arc of Philadelphia.
Ms. Thompson is the Chairperson of the Philadelphia Right to Education Local Task Force and Secretary for the Governor’s Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP). She participates as a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education Cyclical Monitoring for Continuous Improvement team, and serves on the Board of the Philadelphia Family Voices organization. Ms. Thompson is a member of the organization for families called PARENT POWER, a recent mayoral appointee to the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, and a recent addition to the Advisory Committee for the Philadelphia Autism Project. Furthermore, Ms. Thompson was a founding and former active member of Parents United for Public Education, and one of the first members on the Parent and Community Advisory Council to the Board of Education. Additionally, she has worked with the School District through various educational initiatives. Ms. Thompson, a graduate of Henry C. Lea Elementary School and the Philadelphia High School for Girls, is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in special education at Grand Canyon University.
Regarding her appointment to the Board, Ms. Thompson said, “I strive to be a visible presence for those who feel invisible.” Also, I believe the greatest gift we can provide all our children is the gift of a high-quality education. And, the success of every student is the involvement and positive engagement of families, who are equal partners with the schools in educating their children. Thus, the partnership of families, schools and our communities is essential in the holistic education of our precious children in helping them reach their full potential as productive, innovative and compassionate leaders in society.”
The new Board Members, recommended by the Educational Nominating Panel and selected by Mayor Kenney in December 2020, are filling vacancies created by the resignations of Christopher McGinley, Ameen Akbar and Lee Huang.