In Memoriam: Clifford B. Janey

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Clifford Janey, a member of the Albert Shanker Institute’s Board of Directors for 13 years. He was 73 at the time of his death earlier this month.

Dr. Janey served as a Senior Research Scholar at Boston University, School of Education. Previously, he was a Senior Weismann Fellow at Bank Street College of Education in New York City. From 2008 to 2011, he served as the state district superintendent for Newark Public Schools in NJ. From 2004 to 2007, he served as superintendent of schools for the District of Columbia. And from 1995 to 2002, he served as superintendent of schools in Rochester, NY.

In all of these roles, Dr. Janey proceeded as he began: as a committed teacher. Janey began his teaching career with a number of education positions in his home city of Boston, MA, including as a middle school teacher, a reading teacher at the Bancroft School, principal of Theodore Roosevelt Middle School, east zone superintendent (K-8), and chief academic officer of Boston Public Schools.

Dr. Janey earned numerous national and local awards for his relentless efforts and innovative initiatives in early childhood education, prek-16 academic standards, collective bargaining and authentic accountability. Throughout his career, he grew to recognize that real change happens, not just because of what you know, but how you develop a collaborative culture in which support for human development and accountability for results are seamless. He was also strongly committed to preparing young citizens for the future and engaging with diverse constituencies for the good of all.

We extend our deepest sympathy to his numerous friends and family members, especially his brilliant and loving wife Barbara Janey and his five children, including daughter Kim Janey, Boston City Council President. 

We will provide more information about memorial services when it becomes available.

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Dr. Janey was one of the most inspirational superintendents I have ever encountered during my journey as a principal in DCPS. He valued my perspectives about leadership; he gave me hope when dark clouds cluttered my vision; he made so much sense; he had a powerful mind that made the most intelligent stuttered in his presence. He was an amazing scholar who had so much to offer DCPS; unfortunately, he was not given the opportunity to complete his journey as the captain of a ship that had so many old repairs covered with bandaids —- protected by outsiders —-who had no understanding of how to correctly measure the educational ingredients that were necessary to bring about positive organizational change. Dr. Janey respected all; he was genuine, caring and kind. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

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I was a student at the Theodore Roosevelt Middle School in 1980 when the school was run by Headmaster Janey. This was probably one of the best-run schools in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Boston during very volatile and trying times.

That school had every opportunity to be an education disaster but it was quite the opposite because of the leadership and oversight of its headmaster. I can only hope that headmasters throughout the country can emulate his talent and genius. He created a high standard that our communities need to meet - a platform for inner city children to learn and exceed.

May he rest in peace and his memory be eternal. We lost a giant in education.

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