Jackie’s Education

At Home and Abroad

“…an opportunity to go to teach economics in west Africa.”

“Englewood is a town that I used to describe as 50% Black, 50% white, and half of the whites were Jewish. That's how you can describe my high school. I had friends who were African American, half the school was African American, so I feel like I grew up in a time where I knew people who came from different backgrounds from me."

"So, I went to high school in Englewood, New Jersey. It was a very good high school at the time. I went to Tufts University, at the time it was Jackson College, it was still a women’s college when I applied. And as I said, I always wanted to take my junior year abroad, so I studied in England for my junior year. I still have friends from the apartment I lived in there. And I was studying mathematics; to start with I thought I wanted to be a mathematician and I learned very quickly that I did not have a head for abstract math, but you could apply math to economics."

“I wanted to be a development economist and you know I went to graduate school and got a PhD in economics and my two areas of interest were developing countries, international economics, monetary policy, etc. So, you know when I had the opportunity to decide what I wanted to do my dissertation on, I had some colleagues who had all lived in Africa and done research and I got really interested in doing that and fortunately was given an opportunity to go to teach economics in west Africa and to work on my dissertation. It was a really, really fascinating experience, it was particularly interesting, it was a time when the U.N had just passed the Anti-Zionist Resolution (the rejection of Jewish nationhood and the right to self-determination), and I was living in what was then Upper Volta and is now Burkina Faso, and somebody, I lived in the bush for a while, and a chief in a village up the road had heard that there was an Israeli American Woman living in the town I was in. And the Israeli part was that the Israelis had worked in Upper Volta to sort of help teach about agriculture and irrigation and things like that and so he got curious and actually invited me for lunch one day. And I remember he like made this big toast to the Israelis, at a time when the Upper Volta government was, you know, wanting to kick Israel out of the U.N. So I sort of, I don’t know, I had this consciousness of a kind of difference, and I was interested in helping developing countries feed themselves. I remember, while I was there, that I didn’t think as a 27- or 28-year-old woman I should be telling developing country governments what to do which was the only way you could be an economist at that time. So I eventually changed fields, I think the field that I’ve been in which is organizational development and coaching is a sort of organizational version of making the world a better place.”

Editor’s Note: In 1963, Jackie’s family moved south of Chicago. Two years later, they moved to Englewood, New Jersey, where Jackie grew up and went to high school. Jackie described Englewood as having a decently sized Jewish population. Jackie and her family joined one of the three main synagogues in the Englewood area and attended Sunday school. Jackie and her family felt at home in an area where being Jewish did not necessarily put you in the minority. Although Jackie's childhood experience was of an integrated town with a balance of white and Black residents, Englewood underwent significant demographic changes in the 1980s during which many white residents left the town and the school system became majority Black. Parents of students from Englewood Cliffs, which had a historical sending/receiving relationship with Englewood, fought court battles to stop their kids from being sent to Englewood for high school. In the early 2000s, an experimental magnet program which created the "Academies at Englewood" sharing the campus of Dwight Morrow High School led to protests over unequal access to resources and opportunities for students. Challenges over equity and desegregation in Englewood schools remain as of 2023.