Petitions nominating candidates for the office of member of the Board of Education must be filed with the District Clerk, via mail or email, not later than Monday, May 11, 2020. The following vacancies are to be filled on the Board of Education:
Two (2) Seats for 3-Year Term: July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2023
All seats on the Board of Education are at large. Each petition nominating a candidate must state the name and residence of the candidate. A school board candidate must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, a qualified voter in the school district and able to read and write. School board candidates must be residents of their districts continuously for one year. No signatures are required for the petitions to be filed as per Executive Order No. 202.26.
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.
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."
Glenn Niles had never thought about becoming a school board member until a fellow parent suggested it to him. “It was not something I had ever considered, however, with two children in the school district (at the high school and the middle school), I am happy I made the decision to run,” he said. “I have always been passionate as a coach in the Brewster community, and I felt it was just as important to become involved as a Board member.”
Niles points to the district’s development and approval of a Strategic Coherence Plan and the recent expansion of JFK Elementary School as two critical achievements. He feels that helping the district perform at a higher academic standard and improving relationships between the board and the community are goals he’d like to see accomplished during his tenure.
As a coach to many children in the community, Niles, who works as a service delivery manager, is passionate about athletics and enjoys helping players develop their skills in a variety of sports. Between coaching and being involved in his children’s education here in Brewster, he recognizes and values the strong connections among local residents, describing the community as “a family that rallies together in time of need."
Daniel Heintz said his decision to join the Board grew out of a belief that a school board must truly represent the community. “It is important to ensure that school boards don’t become one-sided in their thinking,” he said. “I bring a different point of view to any discussion, and I will always hold everyone sitting at the table accountable.”
One viewpoint he is particularly attuned to is that of residents who don’t have children attending school in the district. “These residents are part of the community and should be heard regarding things like how district money is spent.”
Along with providing oversight regarding education, Heintz believes it is important for the Board to provide oversight of outside projects, such as facility improvements. “It is critical that we have fields and grounds we can all be proud of, especially since that is the first impression a visitor has when stepping on school property.”
With two children who have attended Brewster schools, a son who is a junior in college and a daughter who is a senior at BHS, Heintz, a firefighter, said that he has always found the community to be very compassionate and giving. “I’ve seen the entire town supporting those in need in the face of tragedy,” he said. “This is a great town in which to raise a family.”
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.”
As an art teacher for the past 16 years, Krista Berardi believes that her knowledge and experience in teaching will be valuable to the Board and the Brewster community. As she begins her first year as a trustee, she is looking forward to working with her fellow Board members to improve communication between school administrators, staff, and residents.
Berardi is passionate about educating children and helping them become successful, resilient adults. “I think it’s important to nurture their souls, as well as educate their minds,” she said.
Describing facility upgrades throughout the district as a major district accomplishment, she said, “I think the Brewster Board has done a wonderful job in improving the aesthetics of our schools and grounds. The renovations at the various schools have kept our schools functional and up-to-date.”
With a daughter who graduated from Brewster High School in June, and a son entering as a freshman this year, Berardi considers this a great place to raise children. “Our community is close-knit, diverse and thriving!” she said.
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.