Laurie Bandlow of the Brewster Central School District in Putnam County is set to retire at the end of the 2023-24 school year, according to an announcement by the school district.
The "unexpected" decision came after Bandlow's mother died in September 2022 and she realized that she would soon need to care for her aging father, according to district officials.
Because of this, she decided to give notice to the district a year in advance to give them plenty of time to choose a successor and to allow her to assist with the transition process.
"Serving as your school superintendent over the last several years has been a great honor," Bandlow said, adding that her decision was made with a "very heavy heart."
"The Brewster community will forever be in my heart," she continued.
First starting in the position in 2019, Bandlow took leadership of the district right before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and led the district through "uncharted territory," district officials said.
This included transitioning from in-person to online learning, a hybrid of the two, and then going back to in-person.
Bandlow also helped develop "Vision 2026," a strategic plan to increase communication initiatives and foster professional development partnerships with Manhattanville College.
When she retires, Bandlow will have finished a 38-year career as an educator. She said that she is proud of what she has accomplished during her time at Brewster.
"When I leave Brewster, I know it will be in a good place," she said, adding, "Our students are succeeding, our staff goes above and beyond, and our community continues to provide support. Our future looks very bright!”
Brewster School Board President Kerry Cunningham praised Bandlow.
"Dr. Bandlow has served our school community with dedication, foresight, and care during her tenure,” Cunningham said, adding, "The school board has been fortunate to work closely with Dr. Bandlow and we will miss her caring demeanor, thoughtful actions, and fierce advocacy for our students and staff.”
Although she is leaving the district, Bandlow will continue using her trademark sign-off in emails: "GO BEARS!"
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