This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Principals and assistant principals from across the District gathered at Lincoln
University High School this morning for the annual Superintendent’s Leadership Conference, but embattled District leader Arlene Ackerman was not with them.
A statement prepared by Ackerman cited "circumstances beyond my control" as preventing her from being with those in attendance. The full statement was read to participants during the conference’s opening session by Associate Superintendent of Schools Penny Nixon.
Also making opening remarks were Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery, the mayor’s Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr, and Rob McGrogan, the president of the principals’ union.
The complete text of Ackerman’s statement, provided to the Notebook by a District spokesperson:
For the past 43 years my life’s work has been educating students who have been traditionally underserved. It’s the student who may not fit in the box. It’s the student who may not always comprehend the assignment the first time. It’s the student who may not have had a hot breakfast on his way to school.
Serving and providing a quality education to all children is my goal and mission. It is what motivates me, encourages me and allows me to flourish in the most difficult times.
Three years ago I was blessed to be chosen to lead the eighth largest school district in this country. It has been my honor. Although I could not be with you all today due to circumstances beyond my control know that I am with you in spirit.
This is your week. This is your moment. This is your time.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being a surrogate parent to our children.
Dr. Arlene C. Ackerman