Philadelphia, July 3, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that he has accepted the resignation of School Reform Commission (SRC) member Dr. Wendell Pritchett’s and that he has named long-time Philadelphia educator Marjorie Neff to fill the vacancy.
Wendell Pritchett was appointed to the SRC in September 2011. Dr. Pritchett is the Presidential Term Professor and Interim Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and former the Chancellor of Rutgers University – Camden campus. Prior to his appointment at Rutgers University – Camden campus, Dr. Pritchett served as a Penn Law faculty member from 2001 to 2009. In 2008, he served as deputy chief of staff and director of policy for Mayor Nutter.
“I want to thank Wendell Pritchett for his service and leadership to the City of Philadelphia and children through some of the most complex challenges the District has ever faced. His leadership on the SRC has been unwavering and crucial, and his background as an educator and administrator has clearly been an asset to the Commission,” said Mayor Nutter. “Throughout his tenure, Wendell’s commitment to ensuring a quality learning environment for every Philadelphia school child has impacted the work done by the SRC to improve education in our City. Again, I commend him for his service and wish him the best in all future endeavors.”
Dr. Pritchett said, “The last few years have been difficult ones for the School District of Philadelphia. The primary job of the members of the SRC has been to consider a set of options, all bad, and to attempt to figure out which one of these options would cause the least damage to students. Though I believe that the members of the SRC have performed this painful task well, this is not a way to run a high performing school system. In spite of these difficult times, the school district has made strides in recent years, and it has been to serve alongside my co-commissioners and Superintendent Dr. William Hite. They are all true public servants in the best sense of the word. I thank them and Mayor Nutter for their service on behalf of Philadelphia’s students.”
Mayor Nutter’s new SRC appointee, Marjorie Neff, has been an educator for more than 40 years, serving 38 years in the Philadelphia School District. Most recently, she has served as the Principal of the Julia R. Masterman School Laboratory and Demonstration School for the past eight years. In addition to being designated a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, Masterman was rated as one of the top 100 high schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Prior to Masterman, Neff was the Principal of Samuel Powel Elementary School in West Philadelphia. She holds a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility from St. Joseph’s University, an Elementary Principal’s Certification and Special Education Certification from Temple University. She received her Master of Education degree from Temple and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Westminster College.
“Marjorie Neff will bring her experience and knowledge as a School District administrator, teacher and parent to her service on the SRC,” said Mayor Nutter. “As a proud public school parent myself, I know that Marjorie understands from a grassroots what it takes to educate our children. I thank her for accepting this call to service – as she has said, the financial challenges faced by the School District are enormous and the consequences of not meeting those challenges are almost too dire to contemplate – but I have the utmost faith in her abilities to advocate tirelessly on behalf of our students.”
Marjorie Neff said, “I would like to express my gratitude to the Mayor for his confidence and support in appointing me to the School Reform Commission. I am truly humbled by the difficulty of the tasks that lie ahead. I promise to carry out my duties and responsibilities as honestly and diligently as possible on behalf of the students, parents and teachers who have enriched my life for so many years. They deserve better than what they’re facing today. I can only say I will do my best.”