2020 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Freeport Board of Education
Throughout her nine-year tenure on the Freeport Board of Education, Ms. Lancaster has always been responsive to the needs of the community. She has used her keen insight to inform all decisions that impact board policy to effect positive educational outcomes for all students. She has served on numerous committees, including the Board Policy Committee, Community Outreach Committee, Freeport Cares and Latino Community Leaders.
Ms. Lancaster works to ensure that all students, especially the at-risk subgroups and students with disabilities, are provided with the very best educational opportunities. She supports legislation and policies that addresses the struggles of immigrant and refugee families, and has helped to raise awareness of the fact that Freeport’s minority student population has outperformed other students in New York State. She has been instrumental in the Freeport board’s submission of several resolutions to the New York State School Boards Association demanding equitable funding and supportive legislation for minority students, and she has lobbied on behalf of minority students at the local and state levels.
For the past five years, Ms. Lancaster has influenced the board to enhance staffing, build academic programs and services, and improve student resources while reducing the tax levy. Through careful fiscal planning and efficient use of capital reserves, the district has expanded instructional programs, technology and school facilities. She has helped to increase advanced placement and dual enrollment classes, while adding necessary support programs for students who need it, including English Language Learners and at-risk students.
Ms. Lancaster’s efforts have earned her recognition from the Village of Freeport, SCOPE Education Services, and the Freeport Rotary Club. She has also been honored with the prestigious PTA Founders Day Honorary Lifetime Membership Award.
“Vilma Lancaster is an extraordinary leader who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to public education,” wrote her award nominator. “She is a passionate advocate who promotes educational excellence for all children. She believes in providing students with exceptional instructional opportunities while maintaining prudent fiscal oversight. Her thoughtful contributions have won her the respect and gratitude of the Freeport community.”