New York City lost a top educator with a tight-knit connection to LaborPress over the holidays.
Dr. Leonard Golubchick, a leader in New York City’s public education system, lifelong teacher and LaborPress contributor, died on Dec. 24 and was laid to rest on Dec. 26 at the Mt. Judah Cemetery in Queens.
Golubchick is survived by son Dr. Jeffrey Golubchick, daughter-in-law Amy Kas and wife-of-52-years Judy Golubchick. He was a giant in the New York City school system and a local legend in his neighborhood.
Golubchick, who was sometimes called “the mayor of the Lower East Side,” had a 28-year tenure as principal of elementary school PS 20. His success as an administrator, his emphasis on enrichment and close bond with the community garnered press coverage and gambit of awards during his lifetime.
“He was just an all around nice guy who ran a terrific school,” said his wife Judy. “ And a wonderful husband and a wonderful father.”
In addition to his role in the school system, he was a stalwart proponent of organized labor. Golubchick served as the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators chair for his school district until he retired, a role that involved being a line of communications between union leaders and the rank and file. Judy said that his sense of labor solidarity followed in the footsteps of his father who was a staunch union member as well.
“He protected his teachers, he protected the membership of the CSA and he fought for everyone to get a good deal, so to speak,” Judy said.
His union credentials in combination with his love of the theater, eventually led him to become a theater critic for LaborPress during his retirement.
Golubchick was born on November 19, 1943 to Sol and Goldie, and grew up on the Lower East Side. He pursued his career as an educator after receiving his B.A from Long Island University and his PhD in social psychology from NYU. He began as a science teacher at JHS 22 before serving as principal on PS 20. Golubchick became known for his determined fundraising, which he used to pay for additional staff and special programs like computerized reading labs, before-school care and arts instruction.
“Lenny was able to get grants for special programs. He had dance, art, music, instrumental music, you name it, it was after school,” Judy said.
His enthusiasm spread to the staff he hired, who dramatically improved the school’s test scores over his tenure.
After retiring from PS 20 in 2005, Golubchick kept working as an educator both in the classroom and in the policy arena. He served as an Education Policy Director with the office of Councilmember Alan Gerson, and then as Vice-President and Program Director for Sophie Gerson Healthy Youth. He became a distinguished college professor teaching pedagogy at Metropolitan College of New York, LIU, St. John’s and St. Thomas Aquinas. And spurred by his shared interest in theater with his son Jeffrey, he carved out a role at LaborPress.
“He liked musicals. You know, he liked to walk out singing songs, snapping his fingers, tapping his feet,” said Judy.
Judy said he never really stopped working up until he got sick, and had plans to go back when he was feeling better.
She added that Golubchick was always proud that his son followed in his footsteps as a principal. In addition to his immediate family, he is survived by his two grandsons, Hudson and Jordan, and dog Bailey. “What can I say? I miss him terribly,” Judy said.
Editor’s note: a previous version of this story misstated the name of the school where Golubchick began teaching. We regret the error.