Pat Petch, who was instrumental in setting up the National Governors' Council and was chair for three years to 1999, started her new position as head of governor services in Lambeth last week.
A governor for 18 years in Richmond-upon-Thames, she was awarded the OBE for services to education last year.
Ms Petch said: "The importance of school governors in driving up educational standards is often understated and undervalued. That's why I am looking forward to this opportunity to put Lambeth governors at the forefront of the borough's radical agenda for raising standards."
The south London council says she will be helping develop the role of local school governors, ensuring they are full-tme partners in raising local education standards and reflect Lambeth's diverse community.
"Pat's appointment is great news for Lambeth.
"Now we can build on the work of governor services to inform, support and encourage school governors in the educational challenges ahead," said Ty Goddard, executive councillor for learning and support.
Mike Richardson, chair of Lambeth governors' forum, said Ms Petch's appointment was a coup for the borough - formerly infamous for its "looney left" image, and often dogged by fraud, corruption and financial mismanagement.
"That we can attract one of the country's leading advocates for innovation in education management shows how far we have come here in Lambeth," he said.
Mr Richardson added that Ms Petch's appointment proved Lambeth wanted further improvement.