PARAMUS, NJ - Carol Otis, a retired Teaneck school teacher, dedicated community volunteer and chairwoman of the Bergen Community College trustee board, died Monday at the age of 79, according to the college.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Chair Carol Otis,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond said in a press release announcing her death.
Otis, who has served two terms on the trustee board, from 2007 to 2012 and from 2016 to the present, "left an indelible mark on the institution, championing the needs of students, faculty, staff and the greater Bergen County community," he said.
"Carol took great pride in her role as a trustee, and even greater pride in representing Bergen Community College. Her unparalleled commitment serves as a model for community service," Redmond added.
Otis joined the board after a 33-year career in the Teaneck School District as a family and consumer sciences teacher, according to Bergen Community College.
Over the years, she published several books, including “The New Jersey Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Advisers’ Handbook.” Otis also co-edited the textbook “World of Food,” which earned her the National Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Distinguished Service Award.
She also served as treasurer and membership chair of the Educators of Family and Consumer Sciences-New Jersey chapter, maintained numerous leadership roles within the Bergen County Education Association and New Jersey Education Association and additional positions within the Association of Community College Trustees.
Outside of the classroom and College, Otis remained active in her hometown of Teaneck, contributing her time and resources to supporting causes that increased access to education and provided advancement opportunities for young people.
Among them, for 35 years, she served as chair of the Community Scholarship Fund of Teaneck. Otis received numerous honors recognizing her selflessness, including the educator of the year award from the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor Lizette Parker Civic Achievement Award from the Cedar Lane Management Group and, most recently, the Matthew Feldman Award for volunteer community service from Township of Teaneck.
Otis is survived by her husband of 57 years, Donald, three children and three grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, Otis’ family has asked donations be made to the Bergen Community College Foundation, 400 Paramus Road, Room A-325, Paramus, New Jersey 07652 or Bergen.edu/give.