Community Education Council 20 (CEC20) began a new era during an August
meeting at its Bay Ridge headquarters Wednesday night. CECs represent parents in their districts, and serve as liaisons between parents and schools.
CEC20 secretary, Bob Lee, was elected as President for the next two years,
following the resignation of Laurie Windsor in July. Windsor, a noted
education and parent advocate, served on CEC20 for 12 years, nine of them
as president. Lee admits those are tough shoes to fill.
“Laurie taught me and showed me everything,” Lee says. “There’s things
that I don’t know that she knows.”
By that, Lee means Windsor advocates for parents and knows the right
people. He also says she knows the right resources and has “a wealth of
knowledge” thanks to her being CEC20 President for nearly a decade.
“I don’t think I could fill her shoes,” Lee says. “I’ll do my best.”
Having just been elected, Lee says he needs time to really think about his
goals. But one issue on his mind is overcrowding. CEC20, which covers Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and parts of Borough Park and Sunset Park, has the highest overcrowding in New York, and was an issue discussed in-depth during this
“My focus is all about the kids,” he tells the CEC during this month’s
meeting, following his election. “And help the parents with their kids.”
CEC20 members are excited to have Lee as their leader.
“He’s wonderful,” says Adele Doyle, herself elected as Vice President
during that same meeting. “He’s an MIT grad, and a brilliant man. He’s one
of those parents who volunteers for the benefit of all children.”
Lee’s own parents were volunteers at the schools he attended, which he
says was put into his fiber. “I decided to do that for my kids,” he
Lee grew up in Bayside, Queens but went to high school in Orlando,
Florida. He went to MIT to study electrical engineering and finance, and
earned an MBA from the same institution. He lived and worked in Boston for
a few years before returning to New York. He now lives in Bensonhurst and
is a father to three, ranging from ages eight to 16 months old. When not
advocating for parents, he works as an investment banker.
With children so young, there’s a chance Lee will serve on CEC20 for many
years to come. CEC members need to have at least one child in their
district’s elementary or junior high school in order to serve. Lee’s
predecessor, Windsor, had to resign after her youngest graduated from
middle school this year.
But even so, Lee intends to be an advocate for parents concerned about
their children’s schooling “forever”.
“Education is my driving force,” he explains.