May 5, 2009


Veteran educator honored for more than half a century of outstanding service as teacher and principal of Dyker Heights Junior High School

ALBANY-The New York State Bar Association's Law, Youth & Citizenship Program today announced that Madeleine D. Brennan, principal of Dyker Heights Junior High School (IS 201) in Brooklyn, has been named Educator of the Year.  Ms. Brennan has served the New York City school system with distinction for 63 years - 46 as principal of Dyker Heights.  The award is presented on New York Teacher's Day annually by the State Bar Association to an educator who has made an outstanding contribution to law-related and civic education.

"For 63 years, Madeleine Brennan has been a dynamic leader, bringing out the best in her faculty and students.  Her life-long dedication to educating students and inspiring future leaders have led many of her former students to pursue education as a vocation," said State Bar President Bernice K. Leber of New York (Arent Fox LLP).  "It is an honor to recognize Ms. Brennan's truly exemplary career as an educator."

"Madeleine D. Brennan is a model of excellence for citizenship education, which is one of the most important parts of educating our children and future leaders.  Without good citizenship education programs, we cannot sustain the benefits of our democratic society," said Past State Bar President and committee member A. Thomas Levin of Garden City (Meyer Suozzi English & Klein PC). "The Law, Youth & Citizenship Committee is pleased to acknowledge Ms. Brennan's outstanding work and dedication."
The 22nd recipient of the award, Brennan is the longest serving principal in the New York City Department of Education.  A graduate of St. John's University, she began her career as a teacher in 1946.  She was appointed principal of Dyker Heights Junior High School in 1963 after serving as an assistant principal in Queens Village.     

Cited for her strong character and integrity, Brennan has been involved with numerous professional, civic and community organizations, such as the New York Academy of Public Education, the Middle School Principal's Association, the National Council of Administrative Women in Education, the Dyker Heights Civic Association, the Bay Ridge Community Council and the Emerald Society.  She has been chairperson of the Friends of Music of New York City for 35 years.

Brennan has received numerous awards from the Emerald Society, Middle School Principal's Association, St. John's School University of Education Alumni and was selected the New York City Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in 1999.  Over the years, she has received many commendations from the Brooklyn Borough President, Mayor of the City of New York, Governor of the State of New York, and President of the United States of America.

The Educator of the Year Award is presented to an educator who has made an outstanding contribution to law-related and civic education and whose voluntary service has fostered understanding of the values of our legal and judicial systems; informed and educated students; stimulated a deeper sense of individual responsibility by helping students recognize their duties, as well as their rights; encouraged effective law-related education programs in their communities and in their schools; and increased communication and understanding among students, educators and those involved professionally in the legal system.

The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  Founded in 1876, the Association's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.