This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Mayor Nutter has named parent activist Sylvia Simms to replace Lorene Cary on the School Reform Commission.
Simms, who was a District bus attendant for 15 years, said she was "honored," "excited," and "surprised" by the appointment.
In a statement, Nutter said that Simms "will bring an incredibly important and unique perspective to educational advocacy" to the SRC.
In a brief interview, Simms said she plans to assemble a parent committee to advise her, including representatives of the Home and School association and other organizations.
"My focuses are parent and family engagement," she said. She wants to make sure School Advisory Councils are established in all District schools.
Simms is the founder and president of the group Parent Power, which works on behalf of children’s rights and on improving education for underserved students.
Nutter said that Simms "will bring her experience and knowledge as community leader, parent, former School District employee and graduate to the children and school community. As a proud public school parent myself, I know that Sylvia understands from a grassroots level how important it is to educate our children."
Cary, first appointed in 2011, took a medical leave from the SRC, and her term expires this month. She decided not to seek reappointment.
Simms left the District in December and now works with Comcast and the Urban Affairs Coalition as an outreach coordinator on expanding broadband access.
Nutter also reappointed Wendell Pritchett, the chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden.
Simms will be sworn in Feb. 21, in time to vote on school-closing recommendations, now scheduled for March 7.