“I think it’s in the best interest of the community to keep the name the same,” she said. “But no matter what we do here as a board, our collective vision is do what’s best for our children’s education.”
A large contingent of Bresnahan family members and supporters attended Monday’s meeting to urge the committee to keep the late educator’s name on the building.
Mary Anne Clancy, former mayor and daughter of Francis T. Bresnahan, talked about her father’s legacy and the criteria to consider when naming a new school after someone.
“Would you choose someone whose life was spent serving the children of Newburyport? Someone who worked in the Newburyport Public Schools for 40 years, who went up the ranks from teacher to assistant principal, to principal, assistant superintendent and then superintendent for 24 years?” she said. “(It’s) unheard of, in this day and age, for a superintendent to stay in one place that long, and isn’t that what we want?”
“I hope that Susan Viccaro stays here for the rest of her career and has the same passion for Newburyport that my father had,” Clancy added. “This is not about the past, this is about our future. I want the students of the new Bresnahan School to continue to see Francis Bresnahan’s portrait hanging in the hall when they enter the school.”
Clancy went on to point out that Sept. 19 will mark the 20th anniversary of her father’s passing.
“In recent months, my family has been thinking of ways to commemorate his life around that time,” she said. “I don’t think any of us thought that we would have to do this — defend his memory and honor,” she said. “But in some small way, if any good can come out of this very painful process, it is that all of you have learned a little more about Francis Bresnahan — what he was like as a man, an educator and a visionary for this city.”