Experience a non-issue for Ackerman ex-aide

Posted: March 02, 2012

I N MY NEXT LIFE, I hope to come back as Jamilah Fraser.

Fraser, who was paid $170,000 a year to run former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's propaganda, er, public-relations office, has landed on her feet.

She was hired this week by Louisville, Ky., schools and will be paid $160,538 to serve as chief-diversity, community-relations and communications officer.

That's despite not having the work or school experience initially required for the job, the Courier-Journal, of Louisville, reported. Donna Hargens, Jefferson County's superintendent, defended her decision to hire Fraser this week after a school board member brought up Fraser's experience as Ackerman's personal-image concierge.

Fraser reportedly helped organize pro-Ackerman rallies when her future in the district was in doubt, forced a staffer to create a video game featuring Ackerman, and helped produce a 13-minute video that extolled Ackerman's virtues and was posted on the district website the day she resigned.

Fraser was escorted from district headquarters that day, but continued getting paid for three months.

Fraser also oversaw community engagement and broadcasting for the district, helping it launch a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, her team also used those accounts to spread their propaganda.

When the Daily News ran a Photoshopped image of Ackerman under the headline "SCHOOL DISTRICT'S CHAINSAW MASSACRE," Fraser's team spent the day on social media, claiming that we were promoting violence.

It turned into a pretty amusing Twitter fight - as much as fights between newspaper editors and school district Twitter accounts can be - that I quite enjoyed. I hope the city's taxpayers did as well.

School-closing hearings

Supporters of Stanton Elementary have showed up in force at every SRC meeting since it was announced last year that their school would close in June.

They've pleaded with the board, and students have even put on a Shakespeare performance.

Tomorrow, they'll get their day to sound off.

Stanton will be among the 10 schools whose futures will be discussed as part of state-mandated school-closing hearings in front of the School Reform Commission.

If Stanton - or any of the other schools - is to be saved, it's the arguments put on the record tomorrow that will do it.

Danielle Floyd, in charge of the district's facilities master plan, will present a summary of why each school needs to close and a summary of the feedback garnered from 21 community meetings.

The public will then have 40 minutes on each school to argue why it should be saved.

The school district has done a good job of getting public feedback through the school-closing process. Here's hoping that district officials go into tomorrow's hearings with open minds as they consider these major changes.


Contact Josh Cornfield at 215-854-2893 or cornfij@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @JoshCornfield.

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