Cary to take medical leave from Phila. SRC

Posted: September 21, 2012

School Reform Commissioner Lorene Cary will go on indefinite medical leave Monday, officials said.

Cary, a novelist, arts activist and scholar, said in an interview that her condition was temporarily debilitating but not life-threatening. A series of illnesses, including the asthma she has had since childhood, has left her sick and exhausted - and under doctor's orders to rest, she said. "I'm at 'half,'" she said Thursday. Asked when she might be able to return, Cary said, "I don't know. I'm just sort of benched right now."

Cary, appointed to the commission in October 2011 by Mayor Nutter, is a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of five books and the founder of Art Sanctuary, a nonprofit that creates and celebrates African American arts. In a 2000 Inquirer profile, Cary's husband said her one fault was a tendency to work herself nearly to exhaustion.

"Given her dedication to and passion for our work, we understand how difficult of a decision this is for her," SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said. "We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to her return." - Jeff Gammage

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