Women's History Month Graphic

White Plains, NY — On Monday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators celebrated Women’s History Month with an inspirational ceremony lauding Dr. Suzanne D. Phillips, a prominent longtime educator and Elmsford School Board member, and Elizabeth Rotfeld, Deputy Clerk and Senior Citizen Coordinator for the Village of Rye Brook.

Board Chair Vedat Gashi (D- New Castle, Ossining, Somers, Yorktown) said, “I am pleased to say that eight of our 17 outstanding Legislators are women, which is reflective of the demographics of our country and the world. This is a positive and significant step forward. It is heartening to see women holding positions of power and influence in Westchester County, as mayors, supervisors, lawyers, doctors, district attorneys, commissioners, and judges. We have come a long way from the days when women were confined to traditional roles.”

“Tonight, we have the pleasure of honoring two exceptional women – Dr. Suzanne Phillips and Elizabeth Rotfeld. Their contributions to our communities are immeasurable, and we are deeply grateful for their efforts.”

Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson (D – Elmsford, Greenburgh, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, White Plains) presented the first proclamation to Dr. Suzanne D. Phillips. She said, “I am grateful to gather this evening, to pay tribute to an individual with unwavering dedication and tireless advocacy who has left an indelible mark on our community, and on numerous students across our nation. It is with great honor and deep admiration that we recognize Dr. Suzanne Phillips, a true pillar of strength, compassion, and leadership.”

“Dr. Phillips has been a beacon of hope, a sought-after mentor, an empowerer and a voice for the voiceless. Whether advocating for improved resources for our schools, championing initiatives to support marginalized students, or spearheading efforts to enhance community engagement, she has consistently gone above and beyond to ensure the needs of others, particularly minds that are young and being shaped, molded and enriched by her efforts...May you continue to inspire, empower, and uplift those around you for many years to come.”

Dr. Phillips warmly thanked the Legislator for the award saying, “Since a little girl I've vied for the same positions traditionally held by males and been successful. I was Captain of the school's Safety Patrol and President of the Student Council. Later on, I enrolled in a disc jockey class where I was the only female. I've held senior administrative positions in Higher Education. All of this has prepared me to be the only woman on the Elmsford School Board, and not to be intimidated to vote against what I believe is not in the best interest of the students.”

“I am proud of obtaining my doctorate and enjoy explaining to young women the value of holding such a degree and as women, striving for the highest in the field they've chosen. I will continue to encourage young girls and women to pursue their dreams and not fall victim to those who say you can't achieve, especially if they believe!”

The Board declared March 26, 2024 “Dr. Suzanne D. Phillips Day” in Westchester County.

Legislator Nancy Barr (Harrison, Port Chester, Rye Brook) presented the second proclamation to Elizabeth Rotfeld, saying, “They say if you want something done, give it to a busy person. And nine times out of ten, that person will be a woman. And no one is more busy and more committed to helping people than Rye Brook’s Senior Citizen Coordinator and my friend, Elizabeth Rotfeld. She is always putting others before herself, and residents in Port Chester and Rye Brook are the beneficiaries. Currently, she is the Senior Citizen Coordinator for the Village of Rye Brook. In that capacity, she organizes and implements a comprehensive set of programming to engage and nurture the Senior residents. If not for Liz and the programs she organizes, hundreds of people would have lives that were less fulfilling, less social, less healthy and less enlightened.”

“Liz is also an active volunteer who currently serves as the President of the Council of Community Services for Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester, as well as to having served on the Port Chester/Rye Brook Library Board, Friends of the Port Chester/Rye Brook Library, Port Chester/Rye/Rye Brook League of Women Voters, the Port Chester Council for the Arts, and the Port Chester High School PTSA to name just a few…Liz, you are a one in a million role model for women and men, both young and old, and it is my distinct privilege to honor you tonight during our Women’s History Month Celebration.”

Ms. Rotfeld responded by saying, “As a woman, I believe it is very important to lift other women up and give them a chance, just like the Village of Rye Brook did with me. They took a chance on me when they hired me and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel thankful and appreciative. My Village Administrator and Elected Officials believe in me and in our seniors program and because of that, I feel very valued. Not everyone can say that - I am truly blessed. I will never be complacent in my position, as I constantly strive to go even further and make a greater effort.”

“In Rye Brook, we focus on healthy aging, lifelong learning and friendships. We have members from age 55 on up, from all walks of life. In 2019, we opened up our membership so that non-residents can join as members. When I see the way our members interact and care for one another, I realize that we are a model for all Senior Centers.”

“To paraphrase Fred Rogers, ‘Look for those helpers – they are out there and do your best to be a helper.’ This has been a guiding principle in my life. Thank you for recognizing me tonight!”

The Board declared March 23, 2024 “Elizabeth Rotfeld Day” in Westchester County.

Read the program for Monday night’s event at: https://www.westchesterlegislators.com/images/Newsroom/2024/2024-whm-program.pdf