Retiring Oak Knoll School Principal David Ackerman will be honored at the school's annual Spring Fair on Friday, May 15, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the school's upper playground.
Mr. Ackerman, principal at Oak Knoll School in Menlo Park since 2002, also served two years as principal of Encinal School in Atherton. His career in education, however, began long before he came to work for the Menlo Park City School District.
He began teaching in 1970 in St. Louis. After 15 years of teaching, he became the director of math, science and computer curriculum in the University City School District in University City, Missouri.
The next year he began his first job as a principal, holding that post at schools in Missouri, Seattle and Fairfax, Virginia, before coming to Menlo Park when his wife, Arlene Ackerman, was hired as the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District in 2000.
Among other career achievements, Mr. Ackerman turned around one of Seattle's lowest achieving schools and started the first magnet school in University City, Missouri, which later won the President's Blue Ribbon Award for academic excellence.
Allison Chao, Oak Knoll PTO president in 2012-13, said Mr. Ackerman was "a great principal because he cared about the children so much." She said his decisions and innovative learning methods "were always driven by what he thought was best for the students."
"He may not have always remembered every parent's name or may not have been the most social person at school, but the students loved and respected him and everything he did was always for the kids," she said. Mr. Ackerman was not above picking up trash or fixing a fallen sign, she said, because he "cared about Oak Knoll and loved his job."