Passion, Dedication and Growth – The VCLC Career of Andrea Rieger, CFO

Andrea Rieger joined Variety Child Learning Center (VCLC) in 1997 as Chief Financial Officer, a role she held for 26 years.

Beginning her career as an accountant and working her way up to roles at large national/public accounting firms, Andrea was always a numbers person. However, as her own needs and interests changed, Andrea welcomed the opportunity to join Variety as CFO, combining her love for accounting with her love for children. “While I spent all my time in the CFO position, my role changed over the years. To start it was accounting only, but then I began to work with Judy [founder Judith Bloch] on developing where the future of the school was going. Eventually, when Jan [Janice Friedman] took over as CEO, we worked as partners, co-leading the organization.”

Andrea’s expertise in finance within special education schools made her a leader in the field, and her colleagues often call her for advice. She was a member of New York State Education Department (SED) rate-setting committees for preschool and school-age programs; former chair of the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) CPSE Issues Fiscal Legislative Sub-Committee; and former member of the Nassau County DOH Transportation Committee.

“I loved my time at Variety and the opportunity to make a difference, while making myself a better person. Working with people who are so devoted to the children despite often being underpaid and facing challenging regulations, it was inspiring to see how hard they worked to meet each child’s individual goals.”

According to Andrea, the people she worked with were a driving factor in her active role advocating for better legislation to support the children, staff, and schools. “They always inspired me to do more with the state and legislators, pushing for better funding.”

“I was lucky to have the support and trust of the Board, and when I told them we wanted to grow the school and expand to another building, they told us to go for it. I met with the Island Trees school district in Levittown, and we began what has been a great partnership.  We went from a four-room program to now working in three of their school buildings to meet the needs of the children in their community. The trust from the Board in furthering our mission was incredible.”

During her time at Variety, Andrea’s family suffered a tragedy, but she credits her colleagues for helping her through that most difficult time. “As a group, everyone is so supportive of each other. I can’t even describe the level of support I received from the staff and the Board – throughout it all. The love and support I received was overwhelming.”

As CFO Andrea began her tenure at VCLC under founder Judith Bloch, then transitioned in 2009 to her partnership with CEO Janice Friedman and spent her last two years working with current CEO Janet Koch, affording her unique insight and experience throughout her career. “Jan and I were lucky to work with each other. We became very close, dear friends, and trusted each other professionally. It was amazing for me to have someone so close to work with and we always worked hard to do the best we could for the staff and children.”

“I am lucky to have had the last year to work with Janet – staying on during her transition was a great experience. She has developed such a good team and I feel confident Variety will continue to flourish and grow. I have no doubt she will take it to the next level.”

Andrea’s own impact on the school will not be forgotten. “Andrea was a CFO who always had the big picture in mind, but truly cared about each individual employee,” said Corey Lein, Levittown Principal. “Her understanding of each governing agency we work with was unbelievable. I was always impressed with her immense knowledge base – she was like a special education encyclopedia.”

“I’ve had the fortunate experience to work with Andrea this past year as we transitioned VCLC’s leadership,” says Janet Koch, CEO. “She is not only exceptionally brilliant, but she is dedicated and committed to the mission of VCLC.  She welcomed me with open arms, shared openly, and helped educate me to ensure that VCLC continues as a leader in early childhood education for many, many years to come. I will miss her and am grateful for her professionalism and friendship.”

“Andrea’s commitment to the staff and children was unwavering and it has left a lasting impression on me. Her endless drive and energy were contagious and made everyone that worked with her strive to be all that they could be,” according to Janet Slade, Controller. “Her knowledge of New York State education was endless and freely shared with not only our staff but colleagues via the Long Island Coalition for Children with Disabilities which she chaired for many years. Her sincerity and caring nature showed through every day that we worked together. She will be greatly missed.”

As for what’s next, Andrea is still adjusting to retired life. “I will miss the daily challenges and the opportunities to make new connections, work with legislators, and grow opportunities. I was incredibly lucky to love my job. My heart is at Variety for a lot of reasons. I will always be connected to the people, the children, and the support – especially the support.”

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