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Dr. Richard Green
On this date in 1936, Dr. Richard R. Green, a Black educator, teacher, superintendent, and principal was born in Menifee, Arkansas.
One of three children born to Gertrude and Benjamin Green, the family moved to Minneapolis while Richard was very young. Green graduated from the public school system in Minneapolis and earned a bachelor’s degree from Augsburg College, a master’s in special education from St. Cloud (MN) State University, and a doctorate in educational administration from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1972. Dr. Green’s career started in 1959 as special education and social studies teacher in the Minneapolis school system.
During this time he was a basketball and football coach and in 1968, Dr. Green became assistant principal of Minneapolis North High School. One year later he married Gwendolyn Talbert and began a family that would include four children. In 1974, after serving the Minneapolis School Board through assignments to fight racism, desegregate, and integrate that school system, he returned to North High School. In 1976, he was named West Area Superintendent, Minneapolis Public Schools, and eventually became Superintendent of the entire city system in 1980.
Around 1983, Dr. Green introduced a testing system that served as a national benchmark. Students were held to more accountability, which resulted in better test scores. In 1988, he relocated to New York City, taking office as the superintendent of the city's public schools. Dr. Green’s life included a consistent involvement with Zion Baptist Church (Minneapolis), serving as president of the Council of Great City Schools 1987-88, trustee and director of US Bank, Minneapolis, and as a member of the National Commission on Secondary Schooling for Hispanics. He also served on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of New York City, the Hazen Foundation, and the American Museum of Natural History.
Dr. Green's awards included the Top 100 Executive Educator’s Award 1984, the Hubert H. Humphrey Labor Award, and the Urban Family of the Year award, both in 1982. Dr. Richard Green died in 1989.