The news comes after a Sunday poll showing Lewis ahead of Emanuel by 9 percentage points in a head-to-head match-up.
The collaboration with ITN Productions addresses current issues in education.
The U.S. Secretary of Education also said that Pennsylvania's current level of commitment to funding public schools in Philadelphia is "unacceptable."
The organization calls for greater communication between elementary school principals and pre-K programs and more training and professional development to help principals support pre-K-3 alignment.
David Jernigan's hiring is part of a broader plan to promote collaboration between the district and its local charter sector.
A national group critical of improvement strategies used in recent years in the District of Columbia public schools says education leaders in the city have overstated improvements in student achievement.
The three-day conference will provide elementary and middle-school principals with tools to improve leadership skills and launch new initiatives.
Reports from a progressive think tank suggest changes in state policy could help districts get more bang for their buck.
Tuesday's announcement included news of a $750,000 grant from the Wallace Foundation to train superintendents as principal supervisors.
The dispute is taking place amid a growing national debate about teacher tenure rules. The district says it needs flexibility in making hiring and firing decisions, and tenure rules sometimes mean that new, committed teachers are let go in order to keep veteran teachers. The union says the district's policy violates its contract.