Maria McColgan is resigning from the Philadelphia school board effective May 6, officials announced Thursday.
McColgan, an original member of the school board that took over the Philadelphia School District in 2018 in a return to local control under Mayor Jim Kenney, said personal obligations required more of her time.
That means two of nine board seats will be vacant; board member Angela McIver resigned last summer. The educational nominating panel, convened earlier this month, is now accepting applications for both spots, and will send six possible picks to Kenney next month.
McColgan, a doctor who has two children in charter schools, said she was proud of her service and of the board’s pivot to a much more intensive focus on academics and equity, what it calls its “goals and guardrails.”
Board members “come from very diverse backgrounds, belief structures, professions, to really rally around what matters — our students and teachers and student achievement,” McColgan said. “We found a way to find common language, common ground, rather than focusing on the minority of things that we disagree on.”
The district is at a crossroads; Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. is leaving the school system in June, after 10 years in Philadelphia. The board just hired Tony B. Watlington Sr., a career educator from North Carolina, to be his replacement.
Despite the continuing pandemic and a host of challenges — academic struggles, a long-term budget picture that projects a deficit within a few years, and nearly $5 billion in capital needs — McColgan said she is “hopeful that we’re going in the right direction.”
Board president Joyce Wilkerson said she appreciated McColgan’s work, particularly as chair of the policy committee. Kenney, in a statement, said McColgan “had an important role in returning our city schools to local control. I appreciate her years of leadership and thank her for her contributions and commitment to the Board. I wish her the best in her continued service to children and families.”