2011 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Laura Lee Lustbader, Ph.D.

Laura Lee Lustbader, Ph.D.

Programs for Youth and Family Literacy, Nassau BOCES

Dr. Laura Lustbader began her career in education in 1971; however, her love for education began much earlier—when she was in public school in Brooklyn. Having lost a parent while in kindergarten, Lustbader became very attached to her first-grade teacher. "She was so responsive to me emotionally," she said. "I truly think I would not have survived the first grade without her." 

Lustbader began teaching American History at the middle-school level and a few years later moved into teaching at the high-school level before becoming the principal of a small, private alternative high school. 

Shortly after achieving her doctorate 20 years ago, Lustbader came to Nassau BOCES to coordinate a federally funded drug and alcohol prevention program for middle schoolers in Hempstead, Westbury, Freeport and Roosevelt. With the help of people from community agencies and local government, she designed and implemented effective professional development and family outreach programs, spending a significant amount of time with hundreds of children at Brookville, Caumsett and in their mentoring groups in districts. 

When the grant ended, Lustbader became supervisor of the Parent-Child Home Program, which expanded to 11 communities under Nassau BOCES' mentorship. For the last 15 years, her responsibilities have included advocacy; research; program development and grant writing; violence prevention and intervention education; collaboration; and early childhood and parenting education. Lustbader's coworkers at Nassau BOCES have been critical to the success of her programs. In addition, she's worked with almost every community-based agency, county department and agents of county government as a representative of Nassau BOCES. She is especially proud of the work she's done in early childhood education, and safe and supportive schools. 

Lustbader earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, master's degrees in both American history and education, and a Ph.D. in education administration from New York University. She lives in Huntington Station, N.Y., with her partner Mary Watros and their cat Little Green.