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Putnam Daily Voice serves Brewster, Carmel-Kent, Cold Spring, Mahopac, Patterson & Putnam Valley

Brewster Resident Appointed To Putnam/Northern Westchester Board

Mary Cay Nilsen.
Mary Cay Nilsen. Photo Credit: Contributed

BREWSTER, N.Y. -- Brewster Board of Education member and longtime educational advocate Mary Cay Nilsen has been appointed to the Putnam/Northern Westchester Board of Education.

Nilsen replaces Carolyn Aversano, who recently resigned.

“It all starts with that baby in your arms,” said Nilsen, a stay-at-home mom who first began thinking about how to make children’s lives better when she had her son 21 years ago. “Then it becomes, what would be good for his class? And what would be good for the whole second grade? For the whole school?”

Eventually, Nilsen’s efforts to create the best life for her son turned into a passion to help other children succeed.

“It all seemed to fall into place, but it was 20 years in the making,” she said. “I have one son in college and one who is senior in high school, so I have the time now to go to the meetings and do the work of a board member.”

A 20-year resident of Brewster, Nilsen joined the Brewster Board of Education a year ago.

Shortly thereafter, she was invited to tour Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES and learn about its programs.

“The tour was a huge eye opener for me,” she said. “I think most parents think of BOCES as the place where kids go who need extra help. But when I toured the campus, I saw the professional learning opportunities, management services and other benefits we get in Brewster by being part of BOCES. It really peaked my interest.”

Nilsen said what she most values about BOCES is its partnership with school districts throughout the region.

“BOCES is there for students we may not be able to serve and it is there to fill in the gaps and provide professional learning and extra support,” she said. “We are working together and traveling the same path.”

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