September 28 — 9:02 pm, 2012

CAO Penny Nixon to take year leave Nov. 1

pennynixon 0 Photo: Benjamin Herold

(Editors’ note: Comments on this story have been disabled; see terms of use.)

Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon will be taking a one-year sabbatical from the School District starting Nov. 1. Nixon had been the second-ranking District official and top instructional leader until the recent appointment of Paul Kihn as deputy superintendent.

Nixon, a product of the school system who rose through the ranks, had played a pivotal role in the District restructuring that got underway after the departure of former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman a year ago. But Nixon’s name had also been tied to the District’s ongoing cheating scandal. Wagner Middle School, where she was principal in 2009, was flagged for irregular test results for 7th and 8th graders that year in a forensic analysis by the state.

"Penny indicated that she is taking a one-year educational sabbatical to be able to concentrate on her studies," said District spokesperson Fernando Gallard in an email. "She indicated that that is what is driving her decision for choosing  a sabbatical at this time."

The news was announced by Superintendent William Hite in the following email sent this evening to District staff.

From: Dr. William R. Hite Jr. <>
Date: September 28, 2012, 6:00:07 PM EDT
Subject: Announcement from William Hite

Dear Colleagues,

It is with mixed feelings that I announce that Penny Nixon, the Chief Academic Officer for the School District of Philadelphia, will take an educational sabbatical leave for the period of one year starting November 1, 2012.  I support her commitment to continue her education to further pursue her goals and career, but she will be sorely missed.  Her leadership and commitment to our students, families, teachers, principals, and schools have allowed the District to overcome a tumultuous period and move forward.  I am grateful for the tremendous work she has done on behalf of the children of Philadelphia.

Thank you,

William R. Hite, Jr.

the notebook

Our news is free to read, but not to report.

support local journalism