Gov. Wolf has asked a former state Department of Public Welfare secretary to be his nominee for an open School Reform Commission seat, sources in his office said.

An announcement is expected next week, the sources said Friday.

Estelle B. Richman spent three decades in public service, working on the federal, state, and local levels. She recently retired from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she was a senior adviser. She also worked as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, as Philadelphia's managing director, and its commissioner of public health.

Richman, 73, of Philadelphia, also served on the transition teams of both Wolf and Mayor Kenney.

She could not be reached for comment.

Richman, who must be confirmed by the state Senate, would take the seat vacated Friday by Feather Houstoun. Houstoun served for five years and resigned last week.

Senate confirmation is not a slam dunk, given the frosty relationship Wolf has with Harrisburg Republicans.

"Many of my caucus members know Estelle well," said Drew Crompton, the Senate Republicans' top lawyer. "That being said, what we will be looking for from any new SRC member is educational balance and an appreciation that vibrant charter schools and healthy private schools are vital in that district. Any nominee having a negative bent towards alternative schools will not garner much support from the Republican caucus."

A second SRC seat will also soon be vacant.

Marjorie Neff, the current chair, resigned effective Nov. 3.

Neff's replacement will be named by Mayor Kenney, and the city's chief education officer, Otis Hackney, said he is deep in a vetting process for more than one candidate.

The appointment replacing Neff - mayoral picks do not need confirmation - is expected "soon," Hackney said - certainly before the SRC meets in November.

Kenney must also replace Commissioner Sylvia Simms, whose term expires in January.

Hackney, in an interview, said his office has been focused on its two SRC picks since the mayor was inaugurated.

He said he had considered a list "from people who are current educators to retired educators to those who have worked in government, to businesspeople, to people in the advocacy world."

"It's a very exciting opportunity to be able to reshape the SRC with the current governor and current mayor," Hackney said.

It's unclear who will serve as SRC chair after Neff's departure. The governor is responsible for naming the chair.

Commissioner Bill Green has sued to regain chairmanship. Wolf ousted him from the top SRC spot in 2015, and Green says the governor did not have the legal authority to do so.

Lawyers for Green have asked a judge to issue a temporary injunction barring Wolf from naming a new chair. A hearing in Green's case is set for Wednesday.

kgraham@phillynews.com 215-854-5146 @newskag