Lorene Cary was appointed to the School Reform Commission by Mayor Michael Nutter on Monday.
Cary is the author of "The Price of a Child" and a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998, she founded a community organization called Art Sanctuary, which showcases African-American art.
The School Reform Commission is a city-state panel created in 2001 to manage Pennsylvania's largest district. Cary replaces one of two members who resigned last month amid political turmoil.
The five-member group still has one vacancy, as gubernatorial nominee Pedro Ramos awaits confirmation by the state Senate. Once confirmed, he will become commission chairman.