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Audio recording of the interview with James Delaney

James Delaney 

(Interviewed by Gloria Ezorsky on 3/21/1985. Transcription: 6 pages)

James Delaney, principal of Teaneck High School, came to Teaneck in September of 1962 after completing his professional training at Bucknell University. He applied for a teaching position at the high school in the area of biology, which teaching position he held for eight years. Mr. Delaney indicates that it was during this time that the Board of Education made its momentous decision to voluntarily integrate the schools through busing. The speaker states that he was interviewed and hired by Dr. Scribner who impressed him as having an inspirational, forward looking and dynamic personality. Mr. Delaney also credits the leadership of Principal, Helen Hill for making Teaneck High School "a very exciting place to work and...a very exciting place to get an education." Having dedicated thirty-two years of her professional career working in the secondary schools, Mr. Delaney describes his predecessor as being an extremely caring person and as a professional who was highly capable and creative. (p.3 - 4).

After working as a Biology teacher for eight years, Mr. Delaney became an assistant principal at Teaneck High School for seven years, then became the principal (p.6).

Mr. Delaney besides teaching was also president of the Teachers' Association and, therefore, says he did have access to meetings and to the people who were making the decisions regarding the school system. He describes the Sixties as a tense period when "the lofty goals of equality did not come easy." However, Mr. Delaney recollects, even the days when the "social experiment" didn't go too well "there always seemed to be a reservoir of good will and interest in making things work..." He concludes "...with a community like Teaneck, there are always people who are available to help, resources that can be tapped and through the work of the Recreation Department and task forces...established and worked very hard, the schools were successfully integrated and stand now as a model... for the kinds of things that people can do together." (p.2 - 5)

Mr. Delaney states the greatest change he has seen in schools since coming to Teaneck in 1962 is the makeup of the staff and student body in terms of its diversity and richness (p. 6).


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