New members appointed to city school board

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Three new members were appointed to the Baltimore City school board, Gov. Martin O'Malley and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Tuesday.

In a release, the officials announced that Cheryl A. Casciani will begin July 1, and Anthony A. Hamilton and Peter Kannam would immediately begin their terms. Two current board members, Tina Marie Hike-Hubbard and Shanaysha Marie Sauls were re-appointed to their posts.


The new board members will replace longtime commissioners Maxine Wood, Jerrelle Francois, and outgoing board Chair Neil Duke. They also join the board during a critical time in the school district, which is entering a year of transition as the tenure of city schools CEO Andres Alonso, nears its end this month, and the massive task to revamp the school system's infrastructure begins next year.

"The board will play an important role in helping to implement our historic $1.1 billion effort to modernize our school buildings and in selecting a new permanent schools CEO," Rawlings-Blake said in the announcementt. "I'm confident that these appointments will help our school system meet the challenges ahead and take advantage of future opportunities."


Casciani serves as the Director of Neighborhood Sustainability at the Baltimore Community Foundation, according to the announcement, and volunteers as the Chair of the Baltimore Commission on Sustainability. She has worked with city students to conduct "green" projects that promote energy conservation, waste management, storm water management and schoolyard gardening.

Hamilton, the father of three school-age children, two of which receive special education services, is the Education Program Coordinator for Baltimore City, which entails working with the school system and the Department of Juvenile Services. In his role, he works with case managers in advocating for youth who may be over age, chronically truant or recently released from detention.

Kannam is a former teacher and the father of three city schools students and works as managing partner of America Achieves, where he runs a program that "highlights promising practices in public education and supports leaders in making these practices more commonplace," according to the release. He is also a former executive for the Teach for America and New Leaders for New Schools programs, which funnel educators into districts through alternative certification.

O'Malley said that he was "confident [the new members] possess the skill and leadership  necessary to ensure that every child in Baltimore City receives the quality public education they deserve."