Reports are beginning to circulate that Arlene Ackerman, former Philadelphia schools superintendent has died.

According to Philly.com, Ackerman died of cancer in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the age of 66.

Ackerman, a life-long educator came to Philadelphia in 2008. Her tenure became quite controversial, leading to her subsequent dismissal and near million-dollar severance package in 2011.

Philadelphia’s current Superintendent William Hite had this to say on his predecessor’s passing:


On behalf of The School District of Philadelphia, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Dr. Arlene Ackerman and all who loved her. Dr. Ackerman devoted her life to children and public education, and in doing so, encouraged countless other individuals to commit their lives to teaching, learning and leading. For that, we are grateful. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and colleagues.