On November 2, Teaneck will be electing three new members to the Board of Education (BOE). The BOE works together with the community and the district schools to ensure a successful educational experience for Teaneck students. The Jewish Link sat down with Darryl Greene, one of the seven candidates vying for a seat, to discuss his views on education, community and how he plans to make a difference for local families.
Tell us about yourself.
I have lived here since 1976 and I consider Teaneck my hometown. I went to Benjamin Franklin middle school and to Teaneck High School. I was raised by a single mom who instilled in me a set of values that have made me who I am today. She is thankfully well and living down the street from me. I am also a proud grandfather to a grandson who just graduated Teaneck High School and another who is just beginning. Professionally I work in film production and have been blessed with the opportunity to meet all types of inspirational people.
Why are you running for the BOE and if elected, what will be your priorities?
I have an immense passion for this town and its youth, and I want to help improve the educational system. At the top of my list is after-school programming. If elected, I pledge to help the many families who rely on after-school programming but can’t afford it. There are many affluent people living here, but there are also those that struggle to provide the basics for their children. I was recently involved in a free bookbag giveaway, and the turnout was tremendous. An average backpack costs about thirty dollars and for a family consisting of three students, that’s a sizable amount of money to spend. We need to sponsor more of these initiatives that help local families.
What are some of the challenges facing the Teaneck school system and do you have specific suggestions for improvement?
We need to invest in the castle on the hill! Teaneck High School is losing students to Bergen Academies, and we need to be competitive and offer the same services, if not better. Also, things are different since the pandemic. Handfuls of kids have fallen behind and we need to get them tutors and resources to catch them up so they continue to excel. Likewise, we need to focus on the gifted students by expanding resources for the Teaneck Academically Gifted Program (TAG). We are in the business of educating our youth and if elected I will use my position to help the children of Teaneck succeed.
What personal experiences have prepared you for this role and why is it so close to your heart?
Teaneck is in my blood; my roots are here, and I feel dedicated to the township and the families who live here. I don’t just understand the issues facing the Teaneck school system, I’ve lived them. While things have changed over the last few decades, much has stayed the same. The challenges of yesterday are similar in many ways to the challenges of today and I understand first-hand what impacts the children living in this town. The way I see it, our children are the future and providing the necessary resources will help make sure the next generation thrives.
What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
My greatest strength is my ability to listen. I use that skill to effectively understand a situation and then develop a strategy. I used to work in the music industry where I was expected to find and develop talent. It’s important to be able to identify skills and build on them. Speaking of skill sets, I believe the BOE needs to keep in mind not all kids will pursue a college education and it’s imperative that we incorporate trade programs into the system so that those kids have options. As for my weakness, I would have to say that I’m impatient. When I’m passionate about an issue or a cause, I’m eager to get the ball rolling.
Describe Darryl Greene in a few words
A man who keeps his word. If I say I’m going to do something, you better believe it will happen. I’m a hunter, not a farmer—I get out there and get things done.
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
I have been associated with The Boys and Girls Club of America and served on the board of directors for many years. For quite some time I believed there was a need for a club here in Teaneck and when United Way did a study that revealed 40 percent of Teaneck students are on a subsidized or free lunch program, I knew I had to make it happen. It took me five years but eventually my voice was heard.
Outside of local politics, how does Darryl Greene spend his free time?
Free time—what’s that? But seriously speaking, I’m a family man and I take advantage of every opportunity I have to spend time with my loved ones.
If you could have dinner with one person who would that be?
My mentor and civil rights pioneer Ernest Green. Ernest Green made history as the only senior of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African American students who, in 1957, desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Five decades later, his actions still resonate and remind me that we need to break down the walls that exist, even here in Teaneck, and create an environment where we are all united.
If we see you on the street, what should we do?
Say hello! I am hoping to meet as many of my fellow residents as possible in the coming weeks. Also, if anyone wants to discuss an issue or just introduce themselves, I am always accessible and happy to talk. You can reach me at 201-214-6996 or by email at [email protected]
Early voting is available at several locations across Bergen County including the Rhoda Center between 10/23-10/31, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m-8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.To locate a polling place please visit https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/polling-place-search.
By Andrea Nissel