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Gov. Wolf to nominate Estelle Richman for SRC

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Gov. Wolf intends to nominate Estelle Richman, a career public servant and former secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare, to serve on Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission.

Multiple sources confirmed the nomination to NewsWorks. The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Richman’s selection.

A formal announcement is expected next week.

Richman would replace Feather Houstoun, whose resignation from the five-member commission took effect Friday. Richman faces a confirmation vote by the Pennsylvania Senate before she can serve.

Richman’s resume is heavy with government experience. She led the state’s Department of Public Welfare under former Gov. Ed Rendell. She’s also a familiar face in Philadelphia, having served as city manager, director of social services, and commisioner for public health.

Most recently, Richman was a senior adviser to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If confirmed, Richman will join the SRC at a critical time.

Chair Marjorie Neff is leaving the commission on Nov. 3. Her colleague, Sylvia Simms, will step down in January when her term expires. Their replacements will be named by Mayor Kenney.

With three new appointees slated to join the SRC in such a short period of time, there’s the potential for big changes — both in policy and, perhaps, in the structure of Philadelphia’s School District governance.

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