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|Born||Joseph P. Watkins
August 24, 1953
Bayside, Queens New York, US
|Education||B.A., University of Pennsylvania
M.A., Princeton Theological Seminary
|Occupation||Pastor, CEO, Political Commentator, Chief Recovery Officer, Chester Upland School District, Delaware County, PA|
Joe Watkins was appointed by Delaware County, PA, Court of Common Pleas Judge Chad F. Kenney as the Chester Upland School District receiver. The order took effect December 14, 2012 and keeps Chester Upland under receivership until December 12, 2015. He will implement the financial and academic recovery plan he developed while serving as the district’s chief recovery officer in August. He had served as the Chief Recovery Officer (CRO) for the Chester Upland School District, Delaware County, PA, following his appointment in August 2012. He is the first person to serve in this role following the Pennsylvania Legislature’s enactment of a new law in July 2012  that gives the state education secretary, Ron Tomalis, a new approach to dealing with failing school districts. As CRO, Watkins, known as a school choice advocate, has committed to developing and implementing a comprehensive academic and financial recovery plan for the public school district. He is pastor of the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church and a Republican MSNBC political analyst. Previously he was chairman of Students First PAC of the Students First Corporation, a Pennsylvania statewide not-for-profit organization that promotes school choice and opportunity scholarships. He was featured in a documentary about the PAC’s work which can be seen at Students First. During 2009-1010 he was a full-time candidate for statewide office as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania in the Republican Primary. Previously, he was a director of Hill Solutions, LLC, a lobbying and consulting firm. He also was one of three partners and the chief marketing officer of MDL Capital, which managed nearly $2 billion in pension funds for clients such as Boeing, SEPTA, and the City of Baltimore.
Watkins attended Middlesex School and previously served on their Board as a Trustee. He received his undergraduate degree in 1975 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an editorial cartoonist for The Daily Pennsylvanian, a resident advisor, and played on the freshman basketball and varsity track teams. Watkins later received his Masters in Christian Education from the Princeton Theological Seminary.
Politics and recognition
Watkins volunteered for then-Congressman (and future Vice President) Dan Quayle's senatorial campaign in Indiana, and was offered a position in Quayle’s Senate staff. While working as an aide for Quayle, Ebony Magazine chose him as one of the Fifty Young Leaders of the Future in September 1983.
From 1986-1989 Watkins exceeded the fundraising mandate of $5 million for minority permanence by raising more than $10 million as the Assistant to the President of the University of Pennsylvania.
Later, when Quayle ran for vice president with George H. W. Bush in 1988, Watkins worked on their election campaign, served in the Bush transition team, and later acted as associate director of the Office of Public Liaison in the White House from 1989 to 1991.
In 1994, Watkins announced his candidacy for the Republican party primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by Harris Wofford (D-Pa.). He lost in the primary to Rick Santorum, but he endorsed the Republican nominee for the general election.
Currently, Watkins is a frequent political commentator for MSNBC and CNBC appearing often on Melissa Harris-Perry. Since 2006 Watkins appears on air as a political analyst for MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, the NBC networks and as a presenter's friend for Al Jazeera English. He appeared as a guest on The Tyra Banks Show  and was a guest host on TBN’s Praise the Lord. He was also the chairman of Students First, a non-partisan, political action committee dedicated to supporting Pennsylvania office-holders and candidates who support education reform legislation such as "money follows the child" programs like Opportunity Scholarships and Education Improvement Tax Credits (EITC), expansion of charter, cyber and magnet schools and merit pay for teachers.
Public appearances and media experience
Watkins gave the invocation on the opening day of the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2008, Watkins spoke on Thursday, August 4 to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 2004-2005, Watkins was a guest host on CNN's Crossfire.
He was host of the Joe Watkins Show, an on-air call-in show Saturday mornings on The Big Talker 1210 WPHT, Bala Cynwyd, PA from 2004-2006 and as a Political Analyst was a regular weekly commentator on Political Corner with Juan Williams on National Public Radio, Washington DC, from 2005-2009.
About CUSD Involvement
PA Education Secretary Ron Tomalis named Joe Watkins as chief recovery officer of the Chester Upland School District of Delaware County, PA on August 19, 2012. Tomalis expressed his confidence in Watkins, saying, “Joe is a qualified individual who has the ability to assist the Chester Upland School District with long-term financial stability, as well as ensuring the district’s students continue to have access to quality academic programs.”
Watkins unveiled a “radical and bold”  financial and academic recovery plan that included school closures (only three of the district’s schools have an occupancy rate higher than 50 percent)  and staff cuts, but also hinges on the district’s ability to regain students lost to charter and cyber charter schools. To accomplish this, Watkins seeks to restore art and music programs to the district and establish various service programs largely by soliciting private donations and creating an endowment.
Though previously serving as chairman of the Students First PAC promoting school choice and opportunity scholarships, Watkins has been aggressive in fighting to return the public schools in the Chester Upland District to financial solvency and solid academic performance. He has insisted that students in the ailing public schools are as capable as those in charters; the schools need to do a better job of educating them. Watkins is enthusiastic and optimistic about unlocking the brilliance of the students so they perform well on the state tests in a way that is equal to their brilliance. As reflected as a Guest Columnist in the Delaware County Daily Times of November 18, 2012, Watkins believes the kids deserve the same opportunities to succeed as other students. He has held many meetings with students, and he is advocating for a school district that will help them achieve their dreams.
- John Kopp, Delaware County Daily Times, December 13, 2012
- John Kopp, Delaware County Times, December 14, 2012
- Rita Giordano, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 15, 2012
- PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949 - OMNIBUS AMENDMENTS Retrieved December 17, 2012
- CUSD Recovery Plan Retrieved December 17, 2012
- He provides people two kinds of services: Financial and spiritual. - brought to you by AccessMyLibrary.com
- "Alum goes for U.S. Senate seat". Daily Pennsylvanian. 1994-02-23.
- Ebony Magazine: 71. September 1983 http://books.google.com/books?id=RLy1XJpwbDEC&pg=PA65&source=gbs_toc_pages_r&cad=0_1#PPA71,M1
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- JAHMAE HARRIS (12/9/1991). "White House aide talks on experiences". Daily Pennsylvanian.
- "The Uncle Tom Strategy; meet Reverend Joe Watkins". DailyKos.com. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
- "msnbc video: Harris-Perry: Who will be Romneys super Sherpa?". MSNBC.com. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- Can the Republicans attract black votors?, Retrieved December 17, 2012
- Gambling on the Fiscal Cliff, Retrieved December 17, 2012
- The political fallout of the Libya attack, Retrieved December 17, 2012
- Joe Watkins on The Tyra Banks Show, Retrieved December 17, 2012
- "Republican Convention--Day One". Democracy in Action. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- "2008 Republican National Convention Announces Program for Thursday". 2008 Republican National Convention. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- Joe Watkins - RNC 2008 Retrieved December 17, 2012
- "Joe Watkins (II)". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- City | Philadelphia Citybizlist
- Chester Upland delays vote on recovery plan till Monday, Retrieved December 17, 2012
- Rita Giordano, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 19, 2012
- John Kopp, Delaware County Daily Times, November 18, 2012
- John Kopp, Delaware County Daily Times, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012
- John Kopp Delaware County Times, November 14, 2012