Philadelphia Alumnae Supports Renaming of School Building for Soror Who Made Great Impact

Submitted by the Strategy, Marketing, and Impact Committee

On April 25, 2024, members of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter joined the Board of Education for the School District of Philadelphia as they voted on the authorization to rename the School District’s Central Office Building (440 N. Broad St.) to The Constance E. Clayton Education Center.

Dr. Constance E. Clayton, the first Black and female superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia and a legendary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., not only changed the face of leadership for the District, but her grounding principle, “the children come first,” served as a turning point in the educational landscape of Philadelphia, shifting the way the city viewed its children and how it valued the adults who served them. She died September 18, 2023.

In a room filled with members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, adorned in red, Dr. Tony Watlington, District Superintendent, in his opening remarks, presented a video tribute. Narrated by Senator Bob Casey, the presentation highlighted pivotal moments in Dr. Clayton’s life and career. At the conclusion of the tribute, Dr. Watlington called for public comment. Representing the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter was Dr. Penny Sparks Nixon, Chapter President. Remarks were also provided by members of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter; namely, Emilee Taylor, Dr. Robin Cooper, and Past President C. Gloria Akers. Additionally, testimonials were given by the Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Philadelphia Alumni Chapter as well as notable union leaders, the Executors of Dr. Clayton’s estate, her colleagues, and friends.

Dr. Penny Sparks Nixon opened her testimony with this note, “We are here today to rename a building, but more importantly, we are here to honor a woman—an icon.” She went on to emphasize that “tonight’s occasion marks an essential step, as we are grateful that the Board is continuing to solidify the legacy of Dr. Clayton in this city and the nation.” With deep conviction she exclaimed, “how fitting that this building, where the board’s vision is clear–to prepare students to imagine and realize any future they desire–will bear Dr. Clayton’s name, so that we can forever be reminded of how she led.”

The public comments concluded with a unanimous vote from the Board of Education in favor of the building renaming. A historical moment for an iconic woman, leader, educator, and sorority member, The Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter will continue to advance the work of Dr. Clayton, honoring her words “I made every decision based on ‘Was it good for our kids?”

To view the presentation as well as hear the full public testimony and vote, please visit this link (beginning at 1:31:52).

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