Remembering Cliff Janey’s Role in the South End’s Bancroft School

By Paul Wright, South End Historical Society

Clifford Janey, who was an influential, charismatic teacher at the South End’s Bancroft School from 1974-1977, passed away at his home in Washington, DC, on February 13, 2020, but he has not been forgotten as an educator here – and is especially remembered now that his daughter, Kim, has ascended to be the first African American and woman to lead the City of Boston.CJ, as he was known, is remembered with affection and respect by his students, their parents, and his fellow teachers. He was one of the key interviewees in the first round of the South End Historical Society’s Oral History Project in 2018 that focused on the Bancroft School. The Bancroft was an alternative public school that flourished from 1969-1981, and CJ was one of the formative influences on the school’s innovative curriculum and practices. A native of Boston, he came to the Bancroft after earning a doctorate in education at Boston University, and went on to national prominence as superintendent of schools in Rochester, NY, Washington, DC, and Newark, NJ. At the time of his passing he was a Senior Research Scholar at Boston University’s School of Education. At a reception for the Bancroft oral history team in December 2018 CJ enjoyed an emotional reunion with several former Bancroft students, parents, and teachers. In a communication about his experience in the South End he said: “I taught three years at the Bancroft and enshrined in my classroom a celebrated soulful marriage between schools and communities. Let’s give more ‘space’ to the significance of the Bancroft and its remarkable contribution to the roots of public education!!”

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