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Lorna Rivera, director of the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, will become the newest member of the Boston School Committee, the mayor’s office is expected to announce Thursday.

Rivera is replacing Miren Uriarte, who stepped down last month from the seven-member board, which oversees the city’s school system and is appointed by the mayor.

“A Boston Public Schools parent and an accomplished educator with an extensive background in student advancement and strengthening diverse communities, Dr. Rivera is a wonderful addition to the Boston School Committee,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh in a statement. “I look forward to Lorna’s valuable contributions to our students and schools as we continue to work together to create more opportunities for all students.”

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The appointment comes at a critical juncture. The School Committee is embarking on a search for a new superintendent and will begin deliberations next week on next year’s school budget.

Rivera, who also is an associate professor of women’s and gender studies at UMass, grew up in Chicago and now lives in Roslindale.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from DePaul University; state of Illinois licensure in language arts and social studies, grades K-9; and a master’s and doctorate in sociology from Northeastern University.

She is working on an initiative with Bunker Hill Community College to improve retention and graduation rates for Latino college students.

“As the parent of a fifth-grader at the Charles Sumner Elementary School, I am honored to serve on the School Committee, and am really looking forward to working with others to create a better future for our youth,” Rivera said in a statement. “I am also an educator and education researcher who is committed to advancing Boston Public Schools’ and Mayor Walsh’s goals to address opportunity gaps and to support the needs of Boston’s diverse student populations.”

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James Vaznis can be reached at james.vaznis@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globevaznis.