Our History


Our founder and executive director, Leonie Francis-Bryan, saw a need for childcare in the 1980s within her community.  As a full-time registered nurse, a mother of three and wife, her plate was full but her ambitions high.  She wanted to ensure that there was a safe place for mothers who worked to send their children to receive a good academic foundation.  In April 1983, she filled this educational void by opening the doors of Cortelyou Early Childhood Center. Today, after three decades of work as a nurse, our executive director has retired from nursing.


We are fortunate that instead she is here to ensure your child receives the best education available in New York City. As a mother and grandmother, she is proud that her children hold advanced degrees. Her oldest daughter is a professor of English at the University of Miami, while her other two children run Cortelyou Early Childhood Centers, where all of her three grandchildren have been or are currently being educated.


Leonie’s Legacy


CECC is committed to honoring Francis-Bryan’s legacy by providing an excellent education that meets each student’s interests, abilities, and needs. We are very proud that we also promote an appreciation for diversity in our community as an integral part of school life. Students at CECC are challenged to develop intellectual independence, creativity, and most importantly, responsibility toward others both within the school and in the community.


CECC prepares students for the challenges of life, not only academically, but also as cultured, ambitious and responsible citizens.


This is Leonie’s legacy.


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