Mayor Nutter has named novelist Lorene Cary to the School Reform Commission.
Cary, whose novel "The Price of a Child" was the inaugural One Book One Philadelphia selection in 2003, is also the founder of the nonprofit Art Sanctuary, which showcases African American art. She also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Lorene Cary is a nationally recognized writer, she has a tremendous education background, but for me what is truly outstanding is that she has an incredible passion for the well-being of children; she cares very personally about parents and she’s very much focused on supporting teachers. She will be a tremendous asset to the School Reform Commission and the children of Philadelphia,” Mayor Nutter said in a statement.
Ron Tomalis, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, said, “I am pleased to welcome Lorene to the SRC, as I believe her experience will be beneficial to the school district and the Commission. I look forward to working with her and her colleagues in the coming months as we address many of the critical issues facing the district.”
“I am honored to serve Philadelphia’s students, teachers, and school leaders, and through them, our entire city. My parents were both Philadelphia public school teachers; I attended elementary school here; our children have spent about half their school life in District schools; and as a writer and arts organization director, I’ve worked with schools and with kids, parents, and grandparents who know that a good education is their only real hope for success. I am grateful to be called to serve them on this committed and talented team,” Cary said in the statement.
She was born and raised in Philadelphia and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Penn.
Cary founded the Art Sanctuary in 1998. She lives in East Falls with her husband, the Rev. Robert C. Smith, rector of the Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd. The couple has two daughters.
Cary is Nutter's second appointment in recent weeks. She joins Rutgers-Camden Chancellor Wendell E. Pritchett, who's now serving as interim chair of the SRC. Gov. Corbett's nominee, Pedro Ramos, will take over the chairmanship if confirmed by the state Senate. Once Cary is sworn in and Ramos confirmed, the SRC will have five members for the first time since early this year, when David Girard-diCarlo resigned. The other members of the SRC are Joseph Dworetzky and Denise McGregor Armbrister.
It's not yet clear when Cary will take her oath of office, but it seems likely that she'll be in place by the SRC's next meeting on Oct. 26.