The elementary school at 3201 Kingsbridge Ave., long known as just P.S. 7 Kingsbridge, is changing its name to honor its longest serving principal.
The Department of Education (DOE) confirmed that the elementary school will be renamed the Milton Fein School, after the educator who served as principal for 27 years staring in 1971. Mr. Fein died in 2012 after a prolonged illness.
“Principal Fein’s passion and dedication to the students and families of P.S. 7 serves as a testament to the incredible work of educators everywhere,” DOE spokesman Harry Hartfield said in an e-mail. “His legacy now not only lives on in the countless students’ lives he touched, but also in the name of the school he dedicated his life to.”
A longtime Riverdalian, Mr. Fein himself took gifted courses at P.S. 7 as a child, though he graduated from the Robert J. Christen School (P.S. 81).
He taught his first class, a military justice course, as a lieutenant in the Army after graduating from Michigan State University.
In 1959, he was hired to teach history at the newly-created David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy (M.S./H.S. 141), where he also acted as an advisor to the teen youth group.
Mr. Fein was known as an advocate for his fellow educators, becoming a union leader following teacher strikes and leading the District 10 Council of Supervisors and Administrators in a fight for fair teacher compensation.
During his time at P.S. 7, he battled a climate of education budget cuts to secure a grant for a new library at the school. Throughout, he maintained a focus on teachers and students.
“There’s a piece of me that envies the relationship between an elementary school teacher and the children,” he told The Press in 1989. ‘These teachers are the topic of conversation in every home in Kingsbridge. They are a crucial person outside of the family.”
Mr. Fein was also an advocate of arts education, forging collaborations between P.S. 7 and arts non-profits that are still present today.