By Ayesha K. Mustafaa
Jed Oppenheim was sworn in as the newest board member for Jackson Public Schools, Tuesday, Jan. 7, replacing outgoing board member Dr. George Schimmel. He then joined and participated in the regular board meeting at 5:30 p.m.
Oppenheim, appointed by Mayor Chokwe Lumunba, joins six others on the board – Monica Gilmore-Love, president; Linda F. Rush, vice president; Timothy D. Collins, secretary; and members Kisiah W. Nolan, Otha Burton Jr. and Beneta D. Burt.
Jackson Municipal Court Judge June Hardwick presided over the swearing in, with Oppenheim’s fiancee Harriett Johnson by his side. Johnson works for the ACLU Juvenile Justice program and met Oppenheim who worked at the same program for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Their wedding date is set in April 2014.
Oppenheim leaves his position at SPLC, where he focused on “children at risk.” And according to his SPLC profile, he also assisted in organizing campaigns that addressed “harsh discipline practices pushing children out of Mississippi’s public schools.”
He also worked on “unconstitutional conditions in the state’s juvenile detention facilities, and assisted in human and civil rights campaigns in the U.S., South Africa and Indonesia.”
He earned a master’s degree at Columbia University in international education development.