Mayor Jim Kenney has named two new members to the Philadelphia school board.
If confirmed by City Council, Sarah-Ashley Andrews, a family therapist who founded a suicide-prevention nonprofit, and Chau Wing Lam, a former district employee who works as director of operations for the Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders, will become part of the nine-member volunteer board, which oversees the Philadelphia School District and its $3.9 billion budget.
Andrews and Lam “have dedicated their careers to supporting children and families, and I know that they will each make important contributions to the board’s leadership and Philadelphia’s public schools,” Kenney said in a statement. “I am very grateful that they have agreed to take on this vital responsibility.”
Andrews is a North Philadelphia native and district graduate — she’s an alumna of Saul High School — who earned a degree from Lancaster Bible College. She founded Dare2Hope, a suicide-prevention nonprofit that serves more than 5,000 students, and is a member of the Kenney administration’s Reconciliation steering committee, aimed at ensuring equity in the city.
“I am a product of advocates who fought for my educational opportunities,” Andrews said in a statement. “I am proud and ready to serve on the board, and stand committed to educational equity for every student in Philadelphia. I am concerned about the whole child, how we can challenge and change unfair systems and norms, and advocate for life-changing educational opportunities within the city of Philadelphia.”
Lam is a charter school parent who holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and spent six years working for the school system, both in the superintendent’s office and the Office of Research and Evaluation. She also sits on a panel that advises the state on cyber charter school authorizations. The Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders is a leadership-development program for Philadelphia principals.
“Public education is the backbone of our society, and our collective goals for education are much more complex than PSSA and Keystone scores,” Lam said in a statement. “At high-quality schools, children discover passions, integrate learning, resolve conflict, dream big, and most importantly, they matter.”
Andrews and Lam replace Angela McIver, who resigned last year, and Maria McColgan, who resigned last month.