Beloved Queens superintendent retiring after 14 years

Superintendent Madelene Chan. (Photo via Facebook)

After 14 years of service, widely beloved District 24 Superintendent Madelene Chan is retiring. 

Members of the community, students and the Department of Education (DOE) all had nothing but amazing things to say about the longtime educator. 

District 24 covers schools in Ridgewood, Maspeth, Glendale, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Corona, Woodside and sections of Long Island City and Sunnyside.

A spokesperson for the DOE wishes her nothing but the best in her next chapter. 

“Superintendent Chan is the kind of dedicated educator and leader whose contributions to District 24 will have a lasting impact for years to come,” the spokesperson said. “It was an honor to have witnessed her leadership, and New York City Public Schools is better from having had her as a part of our community.”

Mattew Crescio, president of the district’s Community Education Council (CEC), said Chan is the “epitome of what a superintendent should be.”

“Anybody that had the pleasure of meeting or working with Chan knows how much she cares about every child, ensuring that students and their academic success are always the top priority,” Crescio said. “Her leadership style has allowed principals to lead their schools to greatness. Chan has taken great pride in cultivating the largest district in NYC and the most diverse in the nation to be the premiere destination for families seeking the best education in NYC.”

Chan began her career in New York City schools 35 years ago as an elementary school teacher. She was an assistant principal and principal before she became the superintendent of District 24 in 2009. 

CEC 24 Vice President Connie Altamirano said Chan will be greatly missed.

“She’s a shining example of leadership, courage, and professionalism to everyone: students, parents, teachers and all employees in District 24,” Altamirano said. “My family’s experience with Dr. Chan and her office has always been exemplary and filled with support and care throughout my children’s education. We thank [her] for her exceptional dedication to [our] constituents.”

Former Vice President of District 24 CEC Henry Choi also wished Chan well as she retires from District 24.

“We will all miss her professionalism, her willingness to speak to any and all parents and her empathy. In addition to having been a teacher, a principal and a superintendent, she was a parent and she understood the needs that all our district families shared in,” Choi said. “As parents and caregivers, we lend our children to schools for most of the waking day. We trust that our children will be safe and nurtured while also learning the skills to be better scholars and people. I trusted my daughter’s well-being and schooling in a district Chan administered at the highest levels.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards with Connie Altamirano and Madelene Chan (r.) (Photo courtesy of Connie Altamirano)

One middle school Individualized Education Program (IEP) student said he faced many difficulties, but Chan was always a guiding light. He also said that Chan made him feel seen and heard when she would greet him by name at school. 

“[She’s the reason] my sister are where we are today,” the student said. 

Deputy Superintendent Teresa Caccavale will take over for Chan as of Friday, March 17.