"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.