Former Philly schools chief Ackerman dies at 66

Posted at: 02/02/2013 10:25 AM
Updated at: 02/02/2013 12:19 PM
By: The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Former Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who left abruptly a year and a half ago after clashing with local officials, has died, according to her son. She was 66.

Anthony Antognoli said his mother died at about 5 a.m. Saturday of pancreatic cancer in Albuquerque, N.M., where she lived.

He said she hadn't been ill long and "it was too short a battle."

Superintendent William Hite Jr. said Ackerman "devoted her life to children and public education" and encouraged countless others to do so - and "for that, we are grateful."

Ackerman took over the nation's eighth-largest school district in 2008 and was credited with continuing a rise in test scores and lowering class sizes in primary grades.

But critics called her style during her three-year tenure polarizing and autocratic.

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