Van Nest school named after Councilwoman Provenzano

Van Nest school named after Councilwoman Provenzano
Councilwoman Provenzano’s husband, Nathan Daniel Simmons and Madeline’s daughter, Maria, embrace each other in front of a banner welcoming all to the newly established Councilwoman Madeline Provenzano Educational Campus last Friday.
Community News Group / Robert Wirsing

A late councilwoman’s legacy of serving the community and the youth of the Bronx will live on at a new Van Nest elementary school.

Local elected officials, community leaders as well as friends and family of the late Councilwoman Madeline Provenzano came together at ribbon cutting ceremony held on Friday, October 16 to name P.S. 481 located inside the former St. Dominic School at 1684 White Plains Road, in her honor.

As best expressed by principal Melissa DelliPaoli, the vision behind the Councilwoman Madeline Provenzano Educational Campus is to be a school bridging everyone together and striving toward the essential components of the school’s mission in making students become life long learners and productive citizens.

She added the school’s core values “are to be collaborative with one another and to communicate efficiently within our community” and were inspired by the late councilwoman’s work.

“Councilwoman Provenzano will be a reminder of what our core values truly represent and each day, her core beliefs of serving the community and public service will live on in the halls of our campus,” said DelliPaoli.

The plaque created in Provenzano’s honor was unveiled at the ceremony and will be displayed at the school inside a showcase with memorabilia dedicated to the late councilwoman.

“I can’t imagine feeling any more proud of my mother than I do already and I know that she’s looking down on us all today smiling,” said Maria Provenzano. “This is a well deserved honor for her because she helped out so many people and left both the world and the Bronx as a much better place.”

“Councilwoman Provenzano was very opinionated and independent and both of us were very similar in our unparalleled knowledge of city government,” shared Councilman Vacca. “She was honored by Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Congressman Joseph Crowley after she left office and this just goes to show the respect and affection everyone had for her stretched well beyond her district.”

The councilman confirmed Provenzano was well-known for her community centric work.

She founded the now-defunct Van Nest Senior Citizen Club and allocated millions in funds for Matthew Muliner Park’s restoration among many other projects throughout her career, Vacca said.

“Madeline and I were really close and I worked side by side with her when she was chief of staff for Councilman Michael DeMarco,” said Assemblyman Michael Benedetto. “She was a wonderful public servant whose main priorities were in education and senior citizens’ issues and having this school named after her is a fitting tribute that will keep her memory alive.”

DelliPaoli said P.S. 481 opened on September 2015 and presently provides instruction for kindergarteners, however the campus will eventually serve students through grade five, adding an additional grade each year, for the next five years.

She added that as a STEAM school, P.S. 481 will encompass the STEAM school philosophy of “education based on the concept of science and technology interpreted through engineering and the arts based in mathematical elements.”

DelliPaoli said each classroom is outfitted with state-of-the-art Promethean interactive white board systems and a computer station and each room is “student driven with the teacher acting as their facilitator.”

“We’re unique in that we’re a school that’s very community- and parent-engaged and we really push our students to use their discussion and reading skills at an early age,” said DelliPaoli, adding. “We provide our students with a very warm, nurturing family-oriented environment and whenever anyone walks through our school’s doors, they become a part of our family.”

For more information about P.S. 481, contact the school at (718) 239-5660 or visit

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