The Philadelphia School Reform Commission is headed for a major shake-up, with the ousting of chairwoman Sandra Dungee Glenn and at least three new appointees, according to sources with knowledge of the picks.
Robert L. Archie Jr., a partner at the Duane Morris law firm and formerly a member of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, was poised to become the new chairman of the commission, the sources said.
With Dungee Glenn's departure, the commission - formed in 2001 with the state takeover of the district - will lose its last original member and all ties to the former Philadelphia Board of Education, its previous governing body.
Dungee Glenn has been chairwoman for the last 18 months and part of Philadelphia's public-education governance for nearly a decade.
The selections will allow Mayor Nutter and Gov. Rendell for the first time to have their appointees in all five seats, signaling a new era in school district leadership.
Nutter and Rendell plan to unveil their selections at a joint news conference at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, probably at school district headquarters, 440 N. Broad St., sources said. Saturday was chosen because Rendell and Nutter could both fit the event into their schedules that day.
Philadelphia Superintendent Arlene Ackerman told her cabinet at a staff meeting Monday that the announcements would be made.
The appointments had expired in January, and Rendell had initially expected to announce his selections by the end of February.
Archie, a 1970 graduate of Howard University School of Law and Lincoln University, did not return calls for comment. Under commission rules, the chairman is appointed by the governor.
Commissioner Heidi Ramirez, director of the urban education collaborative at Temple University, is likely to be the only commissioner reappointed, the sources said. Ramirez, who was appointed by Rendell a year ago to fill out the term of former SRC chairman James Nevels, declined to comment.
According to the sources, Dungee Glenn, president of the American Cities Foundation, and Northeast banker Martin Bednarek, another commissioner, were to be notified they would not be reappointed.
Dungee Glenn was sworn in to the SRC post in January 2002, a month after the state took over the troubled school district and the School Reform Commission was created to replace the nine-member Board of Education.
Mayor John F. Street had appointed her to the board in 2000, and he chose her as one of his two appointments to the commission in 2002.
Bednarek also was appointed to the former Board of Education in 2000 by Street. Three years later, Street - with Rendell's support - selected Bednarek for the commission to replace Michael Masch, who left to become Rendell's budget secretary.
Neither Dungee Glenn nor Bednarek returned calls for comment.
Also on the commission is Denise McGregor Armbrister, who was named in 2007 by Rendell. She will stay on.
James Gallagher, former president of Philadelphia University and a gubernatorial appointee, left the commission in January when his term expired. The SRC has been operating with four members.
The mayor's office and governor's office both declined to comment on the impending appointments, which would be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
It wasn't clear who would be appointed to fill the other two vacant seats.
For weeks, names have been swirling as possible replacements, but none could be confirmed. Among them:
Al Taubenberger, Nutter's Republican opponent in the 2007 mayoral race and president of the Northeast Chamber of Commerce. He could not be reached for comment last night.
Rosemarie Greco, a former school board member and bank executive, and a close ally of Rendell's. She confirmed in January that Rendell had asked her to serve and said she would consider it.
Kevin Peter, development director at Community Legal Services and a C.W. Henry School parent active in keeping families who live in the Mount Airy area in the public school system. He said yesterday that he hadn't heard anything.
Brian Preski, a lawyer and former chief of staff for State Rep. John Perzel (R., Phila.). He had been running the government-law practice at Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen L.L.P., which is closing. He also confirmed that he was interested, but had not heard.
School activist and parent Helen Gym had been blogging about her interest in joining the commission, but she said yesterday that she had been doing so only to draw attention to the inappropriate secrecy of the process and lack of guidelines.
"People need to be engaged with what's going on," she said, "and I don't see how you do that when you have a completely secretive process."
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), who had supported Dungee Glenn for reappointment, spoke highly of her.
"I'm a major booster," he said. "She's done an extraordinary job in a difficult position. As far as I know, the budget is balanced, the test scores are going up, and the indicators are moving in the right direction."
But he said he respected the mayor's and governor's decisions.