Kudos for Accoo
a person makes history with a single crucial accomplishment. But
even after Ida Mitchel Accoo 45 helped Salem School
District integrate its elementary schools in 1948. she remained
committed to education and community in a way that touched thousands
of lives over more than 50 years and continues to affect the future
through her example and hard work.
After earning her degree in an accelerated program in January 1945,
Accoo began her career at the segregated Grant Street School, adjacent
to the all-white elementary school. After three years, Accoo signed
a contract to work in the newly integrated Salem Grammar School.
The transition went fairly smoothly, though the first day
was a day of apprehension, she explained. She is one of two
surviving teachers who participated in that historic integration
Accoo taught in Salem for 41 years. Her dedication extended beyond
the classroom to a summer program about New Jerseys geography,
history, and culture. It was exceptionally exciting to show
our students, many of whom had never been out of South Jersey, that
the state isnt all flat, she said.
In 1986, Accoo retired but continues to serve students as a member
of the Salem Board of Education and the Educational Steering Committee.
Her goal is to get parents involved in the education of their children.
She remains motivated to stay involved after so many years by her
faith in kids. They can keep us from falling apart at the
seams, she said.