Ex-Mahwah Teacher Is Archie Comics’ First Ever Female Exec

MAHWAH, N.J. — Nancy Silberkleit, publisher and co-CEO of Pelham, N.Y.-based

Archie Comics

, credits her years as a Bergen County public schoolteacher, for helping her navigate the comic book world.

Hard as it is to believe (for those who grew up with the series), Archie is 76 this year. And many of his stories — along with his gang of Veronica, Betty and Jughead — are still relevant, such as dealing with bullying, jealousy and friendship.

Silberkleit recently announced August will be Comic Book Extravaganza Month for libraries across the globe.

“Archie has always been about entertainment,” Silberkleit said.

“But entertainment that touches one’s heart.”

People relate to the characters, stressed the Mahwah native, and like the fact that these teenagers solve problems on their own, without adult intervention. Together, the gang represents compassion and support.

More than that, Silberkleit, who took over as Co-CEO in 2008 after the sudden death of her husband, Michael, fervently believes that comic books like the Archie series can be used to engage a variety of learners, while promoting literacy and a love of reading and that the graphic comic book format enriches and develops the creative mind.

Her personal motto is “Children + Comic Books = Reading, Knowledge, Confidence and Creativity.”

A former art teacher with 25 years of experience, much of it in Paramus, she’s often seen the power of comics in action as they encourage literacy, storytelling and creativity in children. Additionally, she believes comics teach youngsters how to explore their artistic abilities through illustration, and that this is a natural progression—a bridge to reading from the picture books of their younger years.

It’s a subject the Westchester resident speaks about often as she travels the world,  as well as on how she…

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