Beryl M. Cohen Zankel, Retired Passaic Schools Superintendent
Beryl M. Cohen Zankel, 93, retired Superintendent of Passaic Public Schools and longtime resident of the Passaic-Clifton area, died on Sunday, April 26 at her residence at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, New Jersey. Cause of death was the COVID-19 coronavirus. The daughter of Ida and Samuel Cohen, Beryl was born on February 22, 1927 and raised in Passaic. She attended Passaic High School, where she met her future husband of 70 years, Murray Zankel. She graduated in 1947 from Montclair State as an English and music major. Beryl and Murray married the following year. They raised their three daughters in Clifton, while Beryl went on to earn two master's degrees and contribute her expertise as an educator to the city where she grew up.
Hers was a multifaceted career that spanned five decades in Passaic, including years as teacher, guidance counselor, and testing and research specialist for the Board of Education. Beryl was a trailblazer, ultimately leading the Passaic Public Schools as one of the first female superintendents of an urban school district. Her tenure was marked by staunch dedication to every student in the diverse and multicultural district, as her first priority. An authority on educational evaluation in federal funding and strategic planning, her initiatives were many. She was an early adopter of computers in the classroom, instituted after-school and pre-kindergarten programs as well as a library in every school, and supervised and developed the Compensatory Education Program for the city. At her retirement in 1994, she was honored as a skilled innovator
and educational leader, remembered for her strength and commitment to educational technology. Beryl and Murray enjoyed 15 years in Florida before moving back to New Jersey in 2013.
Beryl loved books and theater. She was a joyful pianist who filled her home with music and songs, and inspired her three daughters to follow their dreams. Above all, she treasured her family, and took pure delight in each of her grandchildren.
Beryl is survived by her children: Joyce Zankel Lindorff (David), Wendy Stern Yamin (Michael), Lesley Zankel Glowinsky (Daniel); her grandchildren: Ariel Lindorff (James Hall), Matthew Glowinsky (Kaleesha), Tyler Yamin (Jessica Ross), Michelle Glowinsky Ferraioli (Frank), Shelby Yamin, and Jed Lindorff (Patricia Kazelis); and loving nieces, nephews and cousins.