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Jul. 27, 2012 9:00 am

Appzhao: ‘on-leave’ School District webmaster creates social network

Former Philadelphia School District webmaster Christopher Akers has got a new title: CEO and founder of Appzhao, a social network for people to share apps they were using.

Editor's Update: Friday, July 27 @ 11:45 a.m.: Christopher Akers is currently on leave awaiting arbitration surrounding his leaving the School District, Akers tells Technically Philly. Therefore, he is not technically the 'former webmaster.' This post has been updated to reflect that. @ 1:10 p.m.: "Mr. Akers is no longer with the District," says School District spokesman Fernando Gallard.
Former Philadelphia School District webmaster Christopher Akers has got a new title: CEO and founder of Appzhao, a social network for people to share apps they were using.

He says he came up with the idea while working at the School District’s IT office. The District discussed using iPads in the classroom and considered how teachers could communicate to students about what apps they needed. Akers says he realized, why not create a mini-personalized app store? Teachers could use it to share apps with their students, businesses could share important apps with their employees and people could use the platform to see what apps their favorite celebrities were downloading.

Visit the site to request an invite here.


Akers created the platform last December and the site went live in May. Marketing assistant Brittany Hafer says Appzhao’s mobile app will be released next month.

The startup, a team of five, is headquartered in Northeast Philadelphia, which is also where Akers lives.

Akers, 31, made headlines during the end of his tenure at the School District. The District suspended him and Akers is awaiting arbitration regarding his being let go from the District, having been accused  [Updated, as noted above] eventually fired him in December, accusing him of “unsatisfactory work performance.” Akers told the Inquirer he was caught up in district politics. One of former superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s aides ordered Akers to work on secret projects, often to promote Ackerman’s image, he said to the Inquirer back in December. One of those projects was “The Teachers of Philly,” a mobile game featuring prominent teachers in the School District.

Akers tells Technically Philly his termination is under arbitration and Hafer had misspoken. Hafer said Akers was “wrongfully terminated” and that the teachers union, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, is handling the issue.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technically Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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