By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Nutter and two former mayors turned out today to honor Philadelphia’s leading education and literacy advocate, Marciene Mattleman, who is retiring next month.
The mayor’s reception room at City Hall was packed with dozens of people who worked with Dr. Mattleman over the past five decades, many of whom were inspired by her boundless energy and devotion to literacy.
“She has started, I would suggest, more important service organizations in this city than probably any other person in the city’s history,” said Mayor Nutter.
Also speaking was former mayor Wilson Goode, who hired Mattleman, now 85, during his tenure to run the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy.
“When she took over, she gave me some instructions, and said, ‘This is how it’s going to work: I will do the work, and I will tell you what I’ve done. I don’t need any other instructions from you.’ ”
Mattleman was founding director of five nonprofit groups devoted to education and literacy.
“Marciene is one of the most unselfish, dedicated public servants that I have known,” said Goode.
Mattleman ran the nonprofit “Philadelphia Reads” during the mayoral administration of Ed Rendell, and he joined in the praise for her:
“No one in this is city of 1.5 million people and this region of 4.7 million people has done more for the schoolchildren of Philadelphia and this region than Marciene Mattleman. No one.”
Rendell, like other speakers, praised Mattleman’s tenacity.
“The secret of Marciene’s success is that she’s impossible. She is absolutely the worst kvetch in the world!” Rendell said with a smile.
At the end of the hourlong tribute, Mattleman thanked the participants.
“It’s so great to be here, surrounded by family, supporters, and colleagues, like-minded people who want to make this a better place to live,” she said.
Mattleman is retiring from the board of her current organization, the After School Activities Partnership, at the end of June, though some colleagues expressed doubt that retirement will slow her down.