Fein was dedicated educator
By Sarina Trangle
Milton Ross-Fein, the longest serving principal at PS 7 and a pioneering union leader, died on Oct. 8. He was 77.
His family said he died in his Upper East Side home after fighting multiple illnesses for years while confined to a wheelchair.
Mr. Ross-Fein was known as a lifelong educator, shrewd union head and an arts enthusiast. His grandparents Robert and Helen Fein were among the first families to settle in Riverdale when they built a home on Tyndall Avenue in 1916.
After studying political science at Michigan State University, Mr. Ross-Fein served as an army lieutenant, where he taught a military justice course. He was one of the first teachers hired at the David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, then JHS 141, when it opened in 1959. After five years of instructing history and striking with local teachers to create a union, Mr. Ross-Fein was promoted to assistant principal. He left JHS 141 to lead PS 7, where both he and his father once attended school, in 1971.
During his 27-year tenure at PS 7, Mr. Ross-Fein led the District 10 Council of Supervisors and Administrators, spearheading compensation battles to stave off “the process of losing good teachers and good principals because of financial abuse,” as he was quoted saying in a June 4, 1989 Press article about his retirement.
Mr. Ross-Fein left PS 7 after securing a prestigious Annenberg Grant for the Arts in 1996 and overseeing the construction of a school library for PS 7 during a time of tight budgets. Education remained on Mr. Ross-Fein’s mind when he retired.
“There’s a piece of me that envies the relationship between an elementary school teacher and the children,” he told The Press in 1989. “These teachers are the topic of conversations in every home in Kingsbridge. They are a crucial person outside of the family.”