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Push to honor P.S. 235 teacher

Fond memories of a longtime Public School 235 educator are the driving force in the effort to have a street near the school named in her memory.

It was residents and educators at the East Flatbush school, which is located at 525 Lenox Road, who began the movement to have East 40th Street between Lenox Road and Clarkson Avenue co-named Janice Marie Knight Street.

Most recently, Community Board 17 gave the co-naming its blessing, voting overwhelmingly in favor of the co-naming at the board’s October meeting, held in the auditorium at Brookdale University Hospital, 555 Rockaway Parkway.

The vote followed a September 29th public hearing at which, “All those who spoke, spoke in favor of the co-naming,” reported Lebrun Burnett, the chair of the board’s Transportation Committee.

In addition, said Burnett, the committee had received a petition in favor of the co-naming signed by 742 area residents. The committee originally considered the application at its May meeting, Burnett noted.

Knight, who had served as principal of P.S. 235 for 10 years, died in December, 2007. She made an indelible impact on the school and community, attested Adrianne Wallace-Bearak, the math coach at the school.

“She gave her life to the community,” Wallace-Bearak told the crowd. “She grew up in the community. She went to P.S. 235. She came back to P.S. 235 as a kindergarten teacher. She was my mentor and my friend. She was special to everyone. She touched so many people’s lives.”

“She impressed me as a great person,” added area resident Charles Alexander. “We miss her. I think it’s a great honor to put her name on that street because it’s what the community wants.”

In addition, Alexander said, Knight’s mother lives across the street. “To come out of her house and see her (Knight’s) name up there, will have a big impact on her life,” he stressed.

The Community Education Council of Community School District 18 had already voted to support the renaming, said Derek Booker, a member of that group.

“I congratulate the residents on their effort to co-name the street after someone who made a great contribution in the community,” remarked Leithland Rickie Tulloch, a board member, prior to the vote being taken. “We try to honor people in the community who people look up to.”

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