Philadelphia’s newest school board member resigned abruptly Monday.
Ameen Akbar said he was leaving to care for his father, who is in ill health, a school board spokesperson said.
His resignation leaves seven people on a nine-member board that must lead the Philadelphia School District through a pandemic, settle a teachers contract that now faces a possible strike vote, and figure out a way to bring children back to school safely.
Akbar, a district graduate, education consultant and former charter school employee, sat on the board for less than six months.
“We truly regret that Mr. Akbar has resigned from the Board of Education, but we certainly understand that family comes first and wish Mr. Akbar’s father all the best with his health moving forward," Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. "We are also grateful for Mr. Akbar’s service on the board this year.”
Though Akbar’s tenure was short, Board President Joyce Wilkerson said, "we have truly valued his voice as a native Philadelphian, public school graduate, and career educator and student advocate. The board has benefited from the insights shared and questions asked by Mr. Akbar as we consider the work of the District, and we greatly appreciate his contributions to the board.”
Akbar said he was “saddened that I cannot continue to serve."
"I am deeply appreciative of your belief in me, my credibility, my lived experiences, and authentic voice to be a Board of Education member,” Akbar said in his resignation letter.
The school board nominating panel will reconvene in November, school officials said, to recommend possible candidates for two board spots — Akbar’s and that of Christopher McGinley, the former board member who resigned earlier this year.
Kenney will then pick two people for the board, subject to City Council approval.