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 says his mother died at about 5 a.m. Saturday of pancreatic cancer in Albuquerque, N.M., where she lived. He says she hadn’t been ill long and ‘‘it was too short a battle.’’
Superintendent William Hite Jr. says Ackerman ‘‘devoted her life to children and public education’’ and encouraged countless others to do so.
Ackerman took over the nation’s eighth-largest school district in 2008 and was credited with continuing a rise in test scores and shrinking class sizes in primary grades. But critics derided her $348,000 salary, called her ‘‘Queen Arlene’’ and said her style was polarizing and autocratic.