Lee Rosenfeld, 73, played key early role for P.S. 3
By Ed Gold
A celebration for family and friends was held last Sunday at West Village Nursery School in memory of Lee Rosenfeld, a soft-spoken but tenacious woman who had an important impact on educational development in Greenwich Village.
Rosenfeld, 73, died May 15 after a five-year struggle against breast cancer.
Among her community activities, she served as board president at the nursery school and was also a leader in establishing the current P.S. 3, with its progressive approach of open classrooms, an art-based curriculum and color-blind hiring practices.
Throwing her considerable energy into the first years at P.S. 3 in the early ’70s, she was a daily visitor at the school, helping in ordering supplies, assisting teachers and talking with students. She later ran the school’s art room for five years in conjunction with New York University’s School of Education and the Museum of Modern Art’s young artists student program.
At West Village Nursery, she oversaw classroom expansion and helped in expanding the student body.
Lee was married to Norman Rosenfeld, a noted architect, for 49 years, all of them as residents in Greenwich Village. He has played an important role in the health construction field, handling renovations at the Village Nursing Home and St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center, as well as creating the emergency room at New York Downtown Hospital and the radiology department at Mt. Sinai Hospital.
The couple were both deeply involved in the launching of P.S. 3, holding a series of meetings, workshops and seminars with like-minded neighborhood parents and supportive teachers.
Aimee Bell, a friend of Lee Rosenfeld’s and a Village resident, spoke frankly about her:
“She charmed people in her simplicity. She had no time for BS. She had innate compassion and empathy, especially for children and the disenfranchised,” Bell said.
Lee Rosenthal remained focused in the 1980s and ’90s, working with the American Friends Service Committee on youth employment. She also volunteered at Safe Horizons in counseling victims of 9/11 on social and financial programs.
Lee was born in New Jersey and attended Montclair Teachers College. An early job was teaching English at a junior high school in Brooklyn.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Joshua, and daughter-in-law, Stephanie Parr, who have two daughters, Maxine and Sylvia, and live in San Francisco; and a daughter, Marion, and son-in-law, Tom Jones, who have a daughter, Theodora Jones, and live in Greenwich Village.
Both Joshua and Marion attended West Village Nursery.