During a special meeting on December 18th, the Colonial School District Board of Directors appointed Rasheda Randall to fill the seat left vacant with the resignation of Dr. Jamina Clay. Dr. Clay resigned from the board in November after referring to the Israel Defense Forces as terrorists and the Israeli military action following the October 7th Hamas attacks as “#gazagenocide.” The post led to accusations of antisemitism from the community.
Nine members of the community sought the appointment and five were initially nominated to be considered for appointment. The eight members of the board went through four rounds of voting that saw Tomas Santiago, Elizabeth MacNeal, and Randall competing for the spot. In the fourth round, Randall received the five votes necessary to be appointed from school board members Gail Plant (the vice-president of the board), Mark Marsico, Jeremy Schwartz, Sharon Marino, and William Winchester, Jr. Randall will serve the final two years of Dr. Clay’s term which ends in 2025.
The nine candidates had been interviewed by the board members, but were not made public. The press release announcing Randall’s appointment describes her as “an experienced special and general education educator who has over 20 years of experience in public and private education. She is also a therapy professional with a history of providing trauma-informed and patient-first care.”
After Randall’s appointment, MoreThanTheCurve.com received an email that pointed us to an interview that Randall had given to NBC10 following the November 16th school board meeting at which Dr. Clay’s resignation was announced. In the interview, Randall stated that Dr. Clay was being “scapegoated” and that she did not have an issue with the controversial social media post. You can watch the interview below.
MoreThanTheCurve.com asked the members of the school board who voted for Randall if they were aware of the Randall’s interview on NBC10 and her statement that she did not have an issue with Clay’s social media post. We also asked all of the board members if they felt Randall’s views on this issue would prevent her from effectively serving on the board. We did not have a single member of the board offer a response.
During the November 16th meeting, many members of the local Jewish community spoke during the public comment period and criticized Dr. Clay’s social media post. The leadership of Congregation Or Ami in Lafayette Hill was among the speakers and has now issued a statement to its members regarding the appointment of Randall.
In the statement, Mark Wolfheimer, who serves as the president of the synagogue, shared that he and Rabbi Glenn Ettman, had both spoken with Dr. Mike Christian, the superintendent of the Colonial School District and that a meeting has been requested with Randall. According to Wolfheimer, Dr. Christian has assured them that Randall is open to a conversation and dialogue with Or Ami’s leadership. Wolfheimer also offered that, “Our focus will be to work together to educate and build the community rather than tear it down.”
More to come.
Photo: Screengrab from NBC10’s video