Ridgewood I.S. 77 renamed after former Principal and Superintendent Joseph F. Quinn

I.S. 77 is now named after former Principal and Superintendent Joseph F. Quinn. (Screenshot via Google Maps)

I.S. 77 in Ridgewood has been renamed after its previous principal and superintendent, Joseph F. Quinn.

Dozens of friends and faculty who worked with Quinn gathered to express their admiration and love for the man, who passed away in December of 2020, during a renaming ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at what is now the Joseph F. Quinn Intermediate School 77.

Tears were a common sight at the renaming ceremony, making it evident the love that those around Quinn had for him. Among those who spoke at the event was current superintendent of District 24, Madelene Chan, who followed in Quinn’s powerful legacy. She shared her first meeting with him after being superintendent, in which he showed humbleness and kindness, upholding the glowing reputation that preceded him.

After laughing over the complexities of being superintendent, he shared with her something she said she will never forget.

“District 24 is a lion of a district, and being a superintendent here is like being the lion tamer,” Quinn told Chan. “You crack the whip hard, but always remember to have a heart.”

I.S. 77, which serves grades sixth through eighth, has a heart just like Quinn, she shared, and she is “confident that the Joseph F. Quinn School will emulate all the qualities he possessed as a formidable, unforgettable leader.”

Deputy Superintendent Emeritus August Saccoccio, who worked side-by-side with Quinn, also shared his elation at the renaming of the school, as well as endearing memories of Quinn. His poker face and quiet voice remain in Saccoccio’s memory and bring a smile to his face.

“The honor bestowed on Joe Quinn today will preserve the memory of a great and wonderful man,” Saccoccio shared.

Those who had not met Quinn still came and shared their respect. The event had a surprise visit from Jenifer Rajkumar, the New York State Assembly member representing the 38th district, including the Queens neighborhoods of Glendale, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Woodhaven.

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar at I.S. 77 renaming ceremony. (Photo by Alicia Venter)
Community activist Connie Altamirano and former Deputy Superintendent August Saccoccio at I.S. 77 renaming ceremony. (Photo by Alicia Venter)

Another community member at the event was Connie Altamirano, a community activist and a member of Community Education Council for District 24. Though she did not know Quinn, Altamirano attended the school when it was an annex to I-93, and said his reputation has preceded him throughout the community, which he was heavily active in.

“Everywhere I go in the community, all I hear are wonderful things,” Altamirano said. “The children came first [and] he loved the community.”

Many already saw I.S. 77 as Quinn’s school even before it was officially named after him.

“Thank you to the Community Education Council and the Department of Education for approving this naming,” Chan said. “Since the pandemic started, we haven’t really felt like we’ve had many wins. But today is a win for all of us.”

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