Cheryl O. Irving, 69, Penn Charter teacher

Cheryl O. Irving
Cheryl O. Irving
Posted: May 30, 2014

Cheryl O. Irving, 69, of Chestnut Hill, a longtime teacher at the William Penn Charter School, collapsed Wednesday, May 21, and died of heart arrhythmia at her home.

Mrs. Irving was a gifted teacher, a faithful churchwoman, and an avid tennis player, according to the school's spokeswoman, Sharon Sextant.

During her 29 years at the Quaker school in East Falls, Mrs. Irving taught English and was the founder and director of the school's Writing Center. She also directed its Multicultural Resource Center.

Darryl J. Ford, head of the school and a close friend of Mrs. Irving's, said her impact on students extended far beyond the classroom.

"She demanded excellence in the classroom, from her colleagues, and in our school," Ford said. "In addition, she was a champion for equity and justice in schools and in society. She was an exceptional person."

Mark Hecker, a 1999 graduate of Penn Charter and now executive director of Reach Inc. - a Washington nonprofit that develops grade-level readers by training teens to teach younger students - was a pupil of Mrs. Irving's in seventh grade.

"She taught me how to write," Hecker wrote on his blog. "She did this, not by saying I was good at it, or by saying I could be better, but by artistically weaving the two together, in a way only a master teacher could. It's what I try to do every single day."

Before joining the staff at Penn Charter, she taught sixth grade at St. Barnabas Episcopal School in Philadelphia from 1977 to 1985, and English at Wissahickon High School in Ambler from 1971 to 1977. She worked briefly for IBM in the late 1960s.

An enthusiastic tennis player, she coached the Penn Charter girls to Inter-Academic League championships and was a member of the board of Legacy Education and Tennis Center in East Falls.

At the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill, Mrs. Irving was liturgist, Sunday school teacher, and choir member.

Surviving are a daughter, Cydney Irving Dasent; a son, Joshua; and a brother. Her husband, James A. Irving, died in 2001.

Services are planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martin's Lane, Philadelphia. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to Penn Charter Women's Legacy Fund through www.penncharter.com/legacy.


 

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