Madison Selects ‘Neck River Elementary’ as Name for New School

Credit: Robin Breeding


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MADISON — The Board of Education unanimously voted on Tuesday to name the town’s new K-5 school Neck River Elementary. 

The board’s naming committee had put forward three names for consideration from a list of 15 potential names, which were presented to the public for feedback in December. Board Chair Seth Klaskin said the Neck River was the only river in Madison that began and ended in town, making it a unique geographical feature. 

“I just think when kids go on little field trips outside to the water, that’s the river that they’re learning from and seeing out the windows,” Klaskin said. 

While Hammonasset Elementary — another of the three finalists — would have honored the Native Americans on the land, Klaskin noted other areas in town were named after Hammonasset, particularly Hammonasset State Park. 

“I also think that Hammonasset is a mouthful and hard to spell for elementary-aged kids,” he said. 

Board member Steven Pynn said the Neck River was also entwined with the Madison’s oyster industry.

“I think it’s a pleasant sounding name for a school and one that’s easy for young people to remember,” Pynn said. 

Superintendent Craig Cooke said one of the most enjoyable parts of the naming process was meeting and learning about Marguerite “Taffy” Bowes, whose name was the third finalist for the school. But several board members and residents said they were hesitant to name a school after a person. 

Board member Diane Infantine-Vyce suggested naming an auditorium or gymnasium after J. Milton Jeffrey or Kathleen H. Ryerson — the names of the two former local elementary schools — or Bowes instead, “just to make sure that we’re not leaving out significant individuals.”

The school, originally budgeted at $61 million, is scheduled to open for the 2025-26 school year. 

Emilia Otte

Emilia Otte covers health and education for the Connecticut Examiner. In 2022 Otte was awarded "Rookie of the Year," by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.