School to be renamed for legendary principal

A local middle school will soon bear the name of the principal who led it for half a century.

I.S. 201 Dyker Heights Intermediate School will be renamed the Madeleine Brennan School, it was announced Tuesday.

Brennan was hired in 1963 and was the city’s longest-serving principal when she retired in 2013. She died in April 2020 at age 93.

After Brennan’s retirement, Penny Santo, president of the Liberty Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn, spearheaded the effort to rename the school.

“I began collecting signatures and spreading the word, and so today I’m happy to fulfill a promise to my old friend for over 30 years,” Santo said.

Madeleine Brennan Eagle Urban Media/file photo

Shortly after Brennan died, state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan wrote letters to District 20 to push for the name change.

“We can all agree she deserves the honor of this school bearing her name, and the present and future classes that walk through the doors at I.S. 201 should all have the chance to know that name well,” Brannan said during the announcement.

“Madeleine Brennan gave so much of her life and her time to I.S. 201,” Gounardes said. “It is only fitting that we rename it in her honor.”

Current principal Robert Ciulla called Brennan a mentor and friend and said he was honored to be involved in the renaming campaign.

“I look forward to being part of the ribbon-cutting celebration and to continue her vision of leadership and academic excellence,” Ciulla said.

Dr. David Pretto, district superintendent, said, “Mrs. Brennan guided the development of countless students, staff, and future school system leaders. District 20 is proud to welcome the Madeleine Brennan School.”

Madeleine Brennan with state Sen. Marty Golden after her retirement in 2013. Eagle Urban Media/file photo

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