By Mike Denardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Friends and colleagues in education will gather today to remember the life of former schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

The memorial service is being held at Bright Hope Baptist Church, where Arlene Ackerman was a trustee.

Her friend and Pastor Kevin Johnson remembers Ackerman as a woman of faith who was committed to educating young people.

“Arlene was a champion for the children,” he said. “She would take a hit, she would stand up for the children, she loved the children. She was concerned about the least of these. And that says a lot about her character.”

Pastor says he’ll also remember her as someone who loved to laugh, and loved music:

“When I went to her house out there in Albuquerque to visit her in January of this year to spend time with her and to pray with her, she had all of these 45 LPs on her wall. She loved herself some Motown.”

Ackerman led the Philadelphia school system from 2008 until 2011. She died last month of pancreatic cancer at the age of 66.

The service begins at 3 p.m.