Crossroads of Rockland History: Arlene Clinkscale

2019-10-21 Crossroads-Clinkscale

Educator Arlene Clinkscale 
This program originally aired on October 21, 2019. To listen, click here

Clare Sheridan welcomes Arlene Clinkscale, who made New York State education history when she became the first African American woman in the state to lead a school district: Nyack.

Dr. Clinkscale has distinguished herself in the field of education since 1950. She came to Rockland County in 1960 after ten years of teaching elementary school in Virginia. She taught in Pearl River and Spring Valley for six years before assuming a series of senior administrative positions in the East Ramapo and Nyack Central school districts, rising to the rank of district superintendent in Nyack in 1981. She also served as principal for Englewood Public Schools in addition to assistant superintendent and acting superintendent. Her most recent position in the public school system was in Roslyn, NY, on Long Island, where she served as educational consultant for Minority Affairs. In addition to her public school service, Dr. Clinkscale taught as an adjunct faculty member of the City University of New York. She is a past chair of the Board of Trustees of Rockland Community College and the recipient of many awards, including the Women Pioneers of Education Award from the CEJJES institute in 2013.

When she was interviewed by Ebony Magazine in 1983 for a feature artcle titled “Superwomen of Public Education,” Dr. Clinkscale said that the problems she encountered because of her sex and race came not while she was in Nyack but as she journeyed throughout the State of New York. “The first superintendent’s meeting I attended, I was the only Black woman there,” she said. “It’s hard to distinguish whether problems are the result of being Black or being female … and some people expect you not to be able to do the job.”


Crossroads of Rockland History, a program of the Historical Society of Rockland County, airs on the third Monday of each month at 9:30 am, right after the Steve and Jeff Morning Show, on WRCR Radio 1700 AM, with live streaming at 
www.WRCR.com. Join host Clare Sheridan as we explore, celebrate, and learn about our local history, with different topics and guest speakers every month.

The Historical Society of Rockland County is a nonprofit educational institution and principal repository for original documents and artifacts relating to Rockland County. Its headquarters are a four-acre site featuring a history museum and the 1832 Jacob Blauvelt House in New City, New York.


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