The Brewster Board of Education is made up of seven unpaid citizens elected to staggered three-year terms. The Board governs through setting policy and District goals. It regularly hears reports and receives information on progress toward its goals and on other matters that reflect policy. It delegates the Superintendent of Schools and professional staff the authority to achieve those goals; provides oversight and evaluates progress. Individual trustees act in authority only when assembled as a Board, at all other times they are private citizens.
All residents are encouraged to take an active role in the development of our schools by attending the Board’s business meetings which are generally held in the District Office. Meetings usually occur twice monthly and are open to the public. Residents have two opportunities at each meeting to speak on matters of interest.
Special meetings are occasionally held; dates and locations of such meetings are posted on the website, marquee and in the local newspaper.
30 Farm to Market Road
Brewster, NY 10509
(845) 279-8000, Ext. 6121
Contact the Board of Education:
To contact the Board, you may click on the "Contact Us" tab or send an email to:
(Please note that the Board of Education email is also viewed by the Superintendent.)
You may also contact the District Clerk for a return call.
Open Meetings Law requires all Board deliberations which may lead to action or policy changes to occur in public; therefore, the content of public/Board communications and e-mails will be reported at upcoming Board Business Meetings. Emails will be confirmed, received, and may be followed by a formal written response from the Board president/vice president and/or district personnel, if that was requested in your communication.
PHOTO TO FOLLOW
Elected May, 2020,
term expires June 30, 2023
Appointed August, 2020,
term expires with the next Trustee
election on May 18, 2021
Brewster Board of Education Biographies
A wholehearted belief in public education led Sonia Mesika to get involved with the Brewster Board of Education. “I believe every child should have access to an education that not only meets their needs individually but also is of the highest quality,” she said.
Mesika points with great pride to what she sees as the district’s dedication to all students and the strong, collaborative spirit that led to the creation of the district’s Strategic Coherence Plan. “The unwavering dedication and pride everyone takes in their work is what makes Brewster a great place to live, and it is our responsibility as a Board to do what is in our power to maintain and build on the achievements of all.”
One of Mesika’s primary goals for the district is to help foster a school climate that ensures the happiness and success of all students and employees.
Meiska, who works in sales in Manhattan, has a son attending H.H.Wells and a daughter attending Brewster High School.
“Every child learns differently and has different social-emotional needs,” she said. “To know that I could be part of ensuring the best education for all children in the town I call home makes me feel like I am serving a purpose that will have long lasting positive effects.”
Kerry Cunningham had considered running for a Board position for many years, but felt that her children were too young for her to make the commitment. However, she ultimately realized that “it was the very reason why I should run.” Her three children are currently students at Wells and Brewster High School
An attorney, Cunningham was elected to the Board in May 2017. Coming into the role, she admired the District’s work in renovating and expanding JFK and CV Starr, as well as the district’s field improvements.
Looking forward, she says she’d like the Board to “try to ensure that there are a sufficient number of teachers in all courses so that class sizes can decrease and more direct instruction can be given.” She adds that she’d also like to see greater cohesiveness between the Board, the Superintendent, and the district’s teachers.
Asked what she likes best about the Brewster community, Cunningham said she values the fact that her children “have a safe place to grow up."
In his second year as a Board trustee, Erik Grutzner is looking to ensure that every Brewster student and family benefits from the district’s success. “There seems to be a great deal of pride in the community and passion about the district,” he said.
Grutzner’s daughter is in fourth grade and his son is in sixth grade and he noted that, as his children have gotten older and moved through the schools, he has become more aware of the district’s accomplishments and challenges. “I feel that my experience and perspective will be helpful going forward,” he said.
“I believe that the true measure of success for a Board of Education is an over-reaching commitment to the students and families of the district,” he said. “Every accomplishment that enhances the experience of our students is important.”
Grutzner, who is the Police Chief in Pleasantville, NY, points to STEM and fine arts instruction as two areas he is especially interested in seeing continue to grow in the district, as they provide critical connections for students. He also looks forward to introducing the new superintendent to the district, and vice versa. “Successfully navigating that process may be the most important job the Board will have during my time.”
Scott Seaman has seen the progress that has been accomplished in the district in recent years and would like to see it continue, a major reason he ran for Board trustee. “There needs to be continued improvement in the areas of communication and transparency, the number of classes offered, and the way teachers and students are supported,” he said.
He credits the district with making Brewster schools safe while putting plans in place to increase student performance and capabilities. He looks forward to helping the district “continue to improve our schools while making it a place people can afford to move to, live and retire.”
With one child who graduated from Brewster High School, and two other children currently at the high school, Seaman, who works as a restaurant manager, truly appreciates the small-town feel of the community. “We all stand up and make sure our community members, especially our children, are supported and nurtured,” he said. He describes music, theater and the arts as areas that are especially close to his heart.
Particularly concerned about mental health issues affecting many in the local community, Seaman feels that the district needs to be at the forefront of the crisis and make it an integral part of the way it plans, teaches and provides support.
Jason S. Whitehead was honored to join the Brewster Board of Education in August, 2020. With his eldest son a graduate of Brewster High School and his youngest son attending H.H. Wells Middle School, there has always been a sense of camaraderie and family in the Brewster community.
As a board member, Jason wants to help bring about a more inclusive curriculum. Increasing the depth of diverse literature with stories of both triumph and tragedy will not only enrich the curriculum, but it will also provide students with opportunities to see people and characters they can identify with and therefore feel supported by. “Deepening the curriculum can ultimately help our children build empathy and mutual respect for one another.”
A former prosecutor and Family Court practitioner, Jason knows the importance of inclusion and hopes that his role and voice will help bring a cohesiveness among the children and families in this community. “Our young people should see themselves, and see each other through more than one lens, so they can have the discussion, as they are our future. This will make for an even stronger community and beyond.”