STAR OF BROOKLYN: Laurie Windsor

Laurie Windsor – President of Community Education CouncilDistrict 20, President of the Bay Ridge chapter of the DeborahHospital Foundation, Member of Community Board 11, Former Treasurerof St. John’s Church

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Windsor admits it is Community EducationCouncil District 20 (CEC 20) that gets the lion’s share of hertime. I feel that’s where I can have the most impact and where Ican help the most, she said. So I devote [a lot of] my time tothat. She defines the group’s two main functions as playing a rolein school zoning and acting as advocates for parents with childrenin kindergarten through grade eight. The council also arrangesseminars for parents, such as one coming up in October for parentswith developmentally disabled children. Special education is adifficult road to navigate even in a perfect situation, Windsorsaid. So we started lining up workshops for parents with childrenin special education.

PERSONAL: Windsor was born and raised in Bensonhurst and nowlives in Bath Beach. She has always lived in District 20. Thelifelong Brooklynite can’t imagine anywhere else she’d rather be.This is what I’ve always considered to be my home, she said,adding: I felt this was a very good place to raise a family.Windsor is married with three children, ages 9, 12 and 14. She saysshe often enlists their help in the work she does. It’s funnybecause they know what I do and they help out, she said withnoticeable pride. When I have to take something to their school,they’ll take it. They help me stuff envelopes.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: One of the biggest challenges iscommunication – the lack of communication sometimes withinorganizations or between organizations, Windsor explained. Andthat seems to be a recurring theme wherever you go. Although shesays that the CEC doesn’t face that kind of problem internally,they do encounter issues in their dealings with the New York CityDepartment of Education (DOE). You have such a huge machine therewith the DOE, and there’s going to be problems with communication,but there are always ways you could improve it.

INSPIRATION: For Windsor, the work she does is its own reward.You do it because you want to do it and that’s the whole thing,she said. You want to do it. You want to see change happen. Youdon’t want to see things down in the dumps. You want to keep seeinggreat results. She sometimes finds herself frustrated with manyresidents’ lack of proactivity when it comes to volunteering. Wehave to get involved and take responsibility for our ownneighborhood, she said. You have to give back because it’s notgoing to happen by itself.

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