Dr. Arlene Ackerman has served in public education for more than 30 years and is currently serving as Superintendent Emeritus, San Francisco Unified School District until 2006. She arrived in San Francisco in 2000 and under her leadership, the district has thrived experiencing five consecutive years of improved achievement for all groups of students while also holding the distinction of the highest performing large urban school district in the state of California for the last two years. In fall 2006, Dr. Ackerman joined the staff at Columbia University's Teachers College holding the prestigious Christian A. Johnson endowed chair and serving as a professor of practice.
Dr. Ackerman has received numerous honors and awards, including appointments to the President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the College Board's Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges, and the National Teaching Commission. Academic awards include Uniquely University City Award for Outstanding Service, Iota Lambda Sorority's Apple for the Teacher Award, Harris Stowe Teachers College's Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Harvard Urban Superintendents Program's McDonnell Douglas Fellowship. Dr. Ackerman received her doctorate in administration, planning and social policy through the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Urban Superintendents Program. She holds a Master of Arts in Education from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Policy from Washington University, St. Louis, MO and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Harris Stowe Teachers College.