New Brewster superintendent assumes her role

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BREWSTER – Laurie Bandlow has begun her tenure as superintendent in the Brewster School District.

The Orange County native, who was inspired to become an educator by her great-grandmother, a beloved teacher, was appointed chief school administrator by the Brewster Board of Education succeeding former Superintendent Valerie Henning-Piedmonte.

Bandlow, who formerly served as superintendent of the Paulsboro, New Jersey school system called Brewster a “wonderful, progressive district where people truly care about their history, pride and tradition. Our administrative team is tops while faculty and staff are highly dedicated professionals. Excitement for the new term is high while Brewster’s school facilities are phenomenal and from what I have already experienced, parent involvement is outstanding as well. I am thrilled to become part of this positive culture.”

Laurie Bandlow in her new office

Bandlow reminisced about her great-grandma, Alexandria Zickler, who was a kindergarten and first grade teacher in the Town of Montgomery: “She was my inspiration to become a teacher when I was a small child,” said the new superintendent while admiring a black and white photo of the woman on her office shelf.

Bandow began her career as a sixth grade teacher in Warwick where she grew up. After teaching in the local school for five years, she relocated to Mercer and Middlesex counties in New Jersey where she held posts as a teacher, assistant principal and principal before being offered a superintendent’s position after earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seton Hall University. She also holds a master’s degree in Elementary Education and Science from SUNY New Paltz, a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Monmouth College in New Jersey and a bachelor’s degree from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania

Bandlow described Brewster as a “very special place. By working with parents, teachers and administrators we can make a difference in the lives of our children.”

Bandlow is married and the mother of three grown children and three grandchildren.

She and her husband are “settling into the area” and are currently renting a home with plans to purchase their own residence.

When appointed by the Brewster Board of Education last spring, school trustees portrayed their new superintendent as a “good listener who values the opinions of all stakeholders especially when making decisions that affect the district for the long term.”

Board President Sonia Meskia added, “We believe her flexibility, vision and collaborative and caring nature are a good fit for Brewster.”

Bandlow met with faculty and staff in the days prior to the opening of school and told each group that she was “thrilled to be back in the Hudson Valley – the best place to live, work and raise a family.” The superintendent also promised to visit classrooms regularly this year. “My title might say ‘superintendent’ but I still consider myself as a teacher because that’s where the action is, in the classroom.”