This morning I woke up to my regular routine of the morning news and I was floored when the headlines read “Ackerman is out.” I thought maybe I was still half asleep and that this wasn’t indeed true. Last Wednesday, Ackerman went back to work and announced, “I am going to stay until I can’t stay anymore.” She also expressed her commitment to the Philadelphia school district. She was expected to serve the full length of her contract, expiring June 2014.
While it has not yet been determined, Ackerman’s buyout package is reportedly worth $905,000. Yet, the Philadelphia school district faces a $650 million deficit.
I personally met with Ackerman at a panel event, Shifting the Numbers: Men of Color and Education, back in Jan. 25, 2011 and she appeared to express a genuine interest in turning around Philadelphia’s extremely high school dropout rate. Overall, she seemed confident in the job she was doing to improve the Philadelphia school district.
However, is this a case of her talking the talk, but not walking the walk? What it all comes down to was she an excellent leader? Great leaders will succeed at whatever challenges prevail. Perhaps her downfall is due to her lack of transparency through the controversy that surrounded the Philadelphia school district.
All leaders, especially in education, need to mirror an example of courageousness. It is important to be a team player, represent and address the concerns of the student body, and to be accountable for their actions.
At Temple, I haven’t seen or heard much from our president Ann Weaver Heart except for a few videos here and there which makes me begin to question how well she is exhibiting herself as a leader.
After all, our educational leaders get paid the big bucks to deal with the big issues so it’s only fair that they perform as best as possible when the times are tough.