The Brownstone School was established on the Upper Westside of Manhattan in 1963 by a group of parents and educators who envisioned a non-profit, high quality early childhood educational center. In 1973 the school acquired its current building at 128 West 80th Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. The school was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 1983. The school currently serves approximately 75 children, most parents of whom live or work on Manhattan's Upper West Side. However, the school is, and has always been, committed to welcoming children from a variety of cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds that reflect our diverse society, so families from all over the city have been a part of The Brownstone School. In our 50 year history, thousands of children have passed through our wooden doors.
Over the course of our history, our community has benefited from the dedication of the administration and teachers and from parents who have volunteered in many fundraising events. Several individuals have had a lasting impact on the development of the school, including the former Director, Cristina Huang. Tina guided the school over financial hurdles in the late mid-1990s and shepherded us through the challenges of changing demographics in the city and school's communities in 2000s.
Tina was born in Manila, Philippines in 1959. She was the 8th of 10 siblings. She attended the International School in Manila where she graduated high school in 1977. She completed two years of undergraduate school at the University of the Philippines, as a college scholar and member of the Dean’s Scholar list, majoring in Education. In 1980, Tina moved to the U.S. and completed her studies at Kean College, NJ in 1982. She graduated cum laude, with a degree in Early Child Education and was inducted into the Dean’s Honor List. In 1984, Tina earned her Master’s Degree in Education, with a major in Early Childhood Education and minor in Special Education from Fordham University, NY.
Tina served as the Director of The Brownstone School from 1996 to 2010. Tina began her career as a teacher in 1984. She taught all ages in various classes and helped to develop the play-based curriculum with her former mentor and predecessor Lona Tannebaum. In 1989, Tina was featured in the publishing of Liz Claiborne, Inc. "An Essay: The Working Woman in America." Tina became the Director of The Brownstone School in 1996. She was an inspiring leader. Her passion for education attracted many teachers and parents to the school. In 2006-2007, Tina was the Early Childhood Chair of ISAAGNY (Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York). In 2007, Tina was diagnosed with cancer and battled the disease with grace, dignity and determination. She continued to work through to May 2010. She lost her brave battle on June 20, 2010. Tina’s legacy is well established and continues to live on in all the children and families who have passed through the school.
A Thank You Note From Tina's Family
Throughout the three years that Tina fought her battle with cancer, the Brownstone community expressed their wholehearted concern and encouraged her to remain strong and positive. Tina received cheerful drawings from the children and numerous prayers, mass offerings for healing, text messages, get-well cards and e-mails from parents, alumni, colleagues and friends. Tina read them all and we recently found them kept in a special box. Tina may not have been able to personally thank everyone for their kind wishes and thoughtful offerings, but we know that she truly appreciated and treasured them. The love and support Tina received inspired her to fight as long as she could. To the Brownstone Community, our deepest gratitude for honoring and appreciating Tina!
The Brownstone School honored Tina with a bench in her name in Diana Ross Playground in Central Park and a touching memorial celebrating her life and achievements. The memorial was moving and unforgettable. As one parent said, “this is a TRANSITION for Tina and for the school.” We are happy that Tina was able to touch the lives of so many people during her 26 years of service at Brownstone School. We miss Tina and will always cherish our memories of her – the fighter that she was, her passion for life and work, our moments of fun and laughter, her leadership, and the caring teacher, mentor and friend that she was to so many of us.