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Brandon A. Cruz Heads School/Safety Facilities
SWBOCES Welcomes Brandon A. Cruz as New Supervisor of School Safety/Facilities
Brandon A. Cruz has had a longtime interest in safety and security. His father and two older brothers are in the military, which peaked his curiosity. As a former assistant principal, one of his responsibilities was to act as the school’s safety coordinator, giving him skills in the field.
In July, Mr. Cruz joined Southern Westchester BOCES as the new Supervisor of School Safety and Facilities. He works in the Center for Professional Development and Curriculum Support, where he assists the organization’s 32 component districts.
“I feel rejuvenated here,” said Mr. Cruz, a Bronx native. “It’s a breath of fresh air. I’m very happy to be here. I want people to see that I’m putting in good, innovative work and am bringing new life to this area.”
Mr. Cruz undertakes his duties with a hands-on approach to bolster the districts’ resources and needs. His school safety responsibilities include creating emergency planning and drills, along with training security guards or school resource officers. With building facilities, he tackles everything from construction to asbestos and air quality testing, as well as coordinating workshops for facilities personnel. Ultimately, Mr. Cruz works as a teacher, sharing content and resources with district staff.
“First and foremost, I’m an educator,” he said. “A big part of my job is creating an awareness of the services that are available to school districts. We are here to help them and strengthen their security and building teams.”
One of Mr. Cruz’s primary goals is to have school districts know to call on BOCES when they need help. “We want to be there for them and provide them with high-quality support,” he said.
Mr. Cruz is currently spending much of his time performing outreach to districts and implementing his own professional development. He regularly visits schools to meet with facilities and/or safety teams, looking to learn about their needs and concerns. He has made contacts with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety and New York State Police to ensure that he acquires new information and provides the best services. Mr. Cruz is also creating a network of professionals in his field, including his counterparts at other BOCES, who can work together to share knowledge. In addition, he is performing extensive research from state and federal outlets.
“This job allows me to delve into one aspect of my overall career that I’ve always enjoyed,” he said. “Safety and security have always intrigued me. They are something in my career that I’m very proud of and have known that I was good at. I’m glad to be able to explore it more deeply.”
Now in his 20th year in education, Mr. Cruz is proud of his career. He began as a middle school special education teacher in the Bronx. He then transitioned to a regional office where he worked as a special education instructional support specialist. He spent 10 years as an assistant principal in a high-needs elementary school in the Bronx, before joining SWBOCES.
“I’m excited to be here and doing this work,” he said. “It has been a long path, but it’s great to be where I am now.”
Mr. Cruz earned his bachelor’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean history, with a minor in education, from SUNY Albany. A multicultural education class sparked his interest for teaching; the following year, he was the professor’s teaching assistant. He later earned his master’s degree in special education from SUNY Albany.
Mr. Cruz lives in White Plains with his wife and two children – a son in pre-kindergarten and daughter in first grade.