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School & District Management A National Roundup

Citing ‘Incompatibility,’ S.F. Superintendent to Step Down in June

By Catherine Gewertz — September 13, 2005 1 min read

The superintendent of the San Francisco public schools announced last week that she will step down at the end of the school year.

Arlene Ackerman, 58, who has led the district for five years, said she would leave her job on June 30. She did not disclose her future plans.

In a closed-door meeting Sept. 6, Ms. Ackerman and the school board mutually agreed they were incompatible, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The decision allows Ms. Ackerman to leave with a $375,000 severance package as long as she remains on the job for at least six months, the newspaper reported.

At a news conference, Ms. Ackerman noted many signs of success in the 58,000-student district under her tenure, including rising student achievement and improved fiscal stability. This year, the progress was recognized when the district was named a finalist for the Broad Prize in Urban Education.

In the past few years, three members of the seven-person board were highly critical of Ms. Ackerman, complaining of what they viewed as her autocratic management style. They also took her to task for forcing teachers to reapply for their jobs at a group of low-performing schools that were being reconstituted.

A version of this article appeared in the September 14, 2005 edition of Education Week

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