The School District of Philadelphia Board of Education Installs the Official Portrait of Board Member Joyce S. Wilkerson

Posted on January 25, 2024
Categories: News, Press Releases

The School District of Philadelphia Board of Education has announced at its Action Meeting today that the official portrait of Board Member Joyce S. Wilkerson has been installed at the Education Center. The portrait, titled “Joyful Determination,” commemorates Ms. Wilkerson’s tenure as Board of Education President and School Reform Commission Chair along with her dedication to strengthening public education for the children of Philadelphia.

“I’m incredibly excited and grateful that Board Member Wilkerson’s immense contributions to public education in Philadelphia have been commemorated with this powerful portrait, titled Joyful Determination,” said Board of Education President Reginald L. Streater, Esq.

It has been a longstanding School District tradition to have portraits of past Board of Education Presidents and Superintendents installed in the portrait hallway leading to the Education Center Auditorium to acknowledge their service to the School District.

“I am so appreciative of this gesture, and I love the portrait,” said Board Member Wilkerson. “However, the portraits of Board Presidents do not acknowledge the critical role of the eight other Board Members and the contributions that they make in governing the School District.”

The modern mixed-media portrait was painted by Philadelphia Artist Sydney True, an alumna of Central High who has worked in Philadelphia schools as a teaching artist with the Mural Arts Program and as a classroom counselor. “It was truly an honor to be chosen to depict the legacy of Joyce Wilkerson,” Ms. True said. “The portrait, along with her life, can be summed up with a simple phrase, Joyful Determination. Ms. Wilkerson’s commitment to serving students and our city will forever be remembered and appreciated, and this painting will serve as a reminder of her lasting impact.”

Ms. Wilkerson’s  tenure began in 2016 when she was appointed as Chair of the School Reform Commission. While serving on the SRC, her most significant accomplishments were to manage the return of the School District to local control and oversee the creation of a new teachers’ contract.

With the formation of the Board of Education in 2018, Ms. Wilkerson was immediately appointed to the School Board and then elected President by her peers. Board Member Wilkerson served as President until December 2022.

Ms. Wilkerson was instrumental in the Board adopting Goals and Guardrails, its five-year plan designed to significantly increase student achievement; and she has worked tirelessly with Board Members to advocate for fair funding of education in Philadelphia by the state and city. She was also involved in conducting a nationwide search for a new Superintendent which led to the successful hiring of Dr. Watlington in 2022 to serve the School District.