Educator Mourns Death of Former Philadelphia Superintendent - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Educator Mourns Death of Former Philadelphia Superintendent

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Philadelphia, PA -

Trenton Schools Superintendent Francisco Duran is mourning the death of his mentor,

Former Philadelphia Schools Superintendent, Dr. Arlene Ackerman.

"She is one of main reasons I became a superintendent," said Duran. "We always talked about parent involvement,  parent involvement. We need to get parents involved! But she said no we need to get parents engaged"

The 66-year-old life-long educator died of cancer Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Duran first met Ackerman in 2000 while he was a principal at a San Francisco, California school.

As the incoming superintendent--she left a lasting impression.

"Immediately the energy, her presence let off a  love of children."

Ackerman's three year tenure at Philadelphia City schools from 2008 to 2011  was filled with controversy.

She pocketed a $905,000 thousand dollar severance package to leave the district.

A few months later she  then filed for unemployment.

 There was also this comment to the head of the SRC-- caught by an open mic.

"I don't know. I  want my job for life back (laughs) I want it back."

Test scores and graduation rates improved with Dr. Ackerman at the helm of Philadelphia Schools.

Thanks in part to her agenda of funneling resources to the neediest students.

A strategy Mayor Michael Nutter applauds.

"We need to make sure all these young people have the best opportunity no matter what their zip or where they go to school,  who their parents are or  what their  economic circumstances."

"One thing she always said is the is new Civil Rights Movement," said Duran.

And that fight for educational equality, he says, will continue through him and the rest of the educators Ackerman has touched over the years. 

"Arlene Ackerman is still alive and her vision will continue in districts across the country."

Funeral services haven't been scheduled at this time.

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