EDISON, NJ - Gene I. Maeroff died early Friday morning in Manhattan at the age of 75.
Gene spent a lifetime engaged in the field of education. Whether it was reporting for the New York Times, authoring books or serving as a member of and finally president of the Edison Board of Education.
“Gene Maeroff’s passing is a tremendous loss for our community,” said Mayor Thomas Lankey. “Long before Gene ran for our school board, he gained national prominence as an educator, as an education writer for the New York Times, and as a book author and editor.”
“His expertise brought a new level of distinction to the Edison Board of Education. Gene was dedicated to one very important ideal: Ensuring that our children received a first-rate education. He was always willing to consider new ideas and divergent opinions. Edison is grateful for Gene’s service to our children and our community,” Lankey said.
He decided not to run for re-election but spent his last year on the Edison Board of Education as its president having to deal with the fire at James Monroe School in March.
In his final message as the President of the Edison BOE, Gene wrote, "I expected my final month as president to be quiet and uneventful, but that has not been the case. First, we had to deal with the upheaval caused by the fire at James Monroe Elementary School and then we had to find a site to accommodate the students during the two years that the school will be rebuilt. So, my final weeks on the board have been anything but sedate."
"Gene Maeroff was a giant in the educational world. He was intelligent, wise, and the renowned author of 15 books and countless articles on the struggles of contemporary education in America," said Beth Moroney, Edison Board of Education Member. "Edison was privileged to have his leadership as the President of the Board of Education. His presence on the Board is missed and his loss will be felt for a long time."
“It is with great sadness that I say goodbye to Gene who was a mentor, colleague and friend,” said Councilwoman Sapana Shah, who served on the Board of Education with Maeroff from 2011-13.
Gene began his career as reporter as a national education correspondent for the New York Times which last 16 years. It was Gene's front-page article in the mid-1970s revealing a previously undetected, decade-long decline in scores on the SAT exam was a trigger for the school reform movement and led to the federal government’s “A Nation at Risk” report in 1983.
He later joined Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1996 as founding director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media. After his retirement in 2006, Gene served as an associate with Cross & Joftus, an education consulting firm. He was also a senior fellow for 10 years, before joining Columbia, at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, on the campus of Princeton University.
“Gene dedicated his life to education reform. He was an innovative thinker who advocated passionately for quality public education on the national stage and here in Edison,” Shah said.
Gene was the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 15 books, including his last work, Reforming a School System, Reviving a City: The Promise of Say Yes to Education in Syracuse, published in 2013.
Gene lived in New Jersey with his wife Joyce and were parents and grandparents.
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