Sunset Park — A woman who guided the education of tens of thousands of children during her more than three decades of service to the New York City public school system was immortalized when a wing at one of the schools where she had served as principal was named after her.
Yvette Aguirre was on hand for the unveiling of the Principal Emeritus Yvette Aguirre Wing at P.S. 169 at 4305 Seventh Ave. on Feb. 10. Aguirre served as principal of the school from 1987 to 1997.
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, state Sen. Marty Golden, Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez and Borough President Marty Markowitz attended the ceremony. Former Council members Sal Albanese and Stephen DiBrienza were also at P.S. 169 to congratulate Aguirre on the honor.
During her years at P.S. 169, Aguirre worked with elected officials, community leaders, school board members and teachers to create more classroom space for the severely overcrowded school. A new wing opened in 1992. P.S. 169 also used space in a parochial school on Fourth Avenue and used classroom space on a floor at Charles O. Dewey Middle School.
"We were able to successfully function in much-improved, less-crowded, child-centered, lower class size, teacher involved and teacher-led academies," Aguirre said.
Aguirre left P.S. 169 in 1997, when she was named principal of P.S. 24, a new school at 427 38th St. Aguirre said it was a dream come true for her to lead a brand new school.
"I helped to develop a new school that thrived in the ethnically rich neighborhood of Sunset Park," she said.
Aguirre started her career in the public school system in 1971. She served as a teacher at P.S. 140, located on 60th Street and Third Avenue. The school had more than 2,000 students. In 1982, a new school, P.S. 314, opened up at the site, replacing P.S. 140. Aguirre was named assistant principal.
She served at P.S. 314 until 1987, when she was named principal of P.S. 169.
Aguirre retired from the public school system in 2005, after more than 30 years of service. She is currently an adjunct professor and an administrator at the Bank Street Leadership Academy, a facility that trains teachers and principals.
She is a Sunset Park resident. Her daughter, Jeanine Ramirez, is the well-known and respected reporter at the NY1 television station.
— Paula Katinas