Westfield Public School teachers Coleen Raparelli and Kerri Webster were named Outstanding Intermediate School Teachers for 2014 by the Optimist Club of Westfield and will be honored by the Westfield Board of Education on Tuesday, June 10. Resolutions will be presented to the teachers by Board President Richard Mattessich at the meeting which begins at 7:30 PM in Room 105 at 302 Elm Street.
Raparelli and Webster are the recipients of the 17th annual Optimist award, established in 1998 to recognize the importance of teaching in the intermediate grades. The award is presented annually to two Westfield teachers – one each from Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools.
Coleen Raparelli is in her 10th year as a seventh grade Mathematics teacher at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics/Secondary Education from Kean University, and a Master of Arts degree from St. Peter’s College in Administration and Supervision. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
A letter of nomination from a current student states, “Mrs. Raparelli is organized, helpful and supportive. She is patient and understands that the students aren’t always correct and that they need reinforcement.” Another student wrote “In Mrs. Raparelli’s class there will never be a day when a student does not laugh or smile. This would not be because they were talking to a friend, but because Mrs. Raparelli makes learning fun.”
In commenting on receiving the Optimist Award, Mrs. Raparelli said, "I am elated and humbled to receive this award! I cannot believe that I am being recognized amongst a group of outstanding educators for doing something that I truly enjoy! What could be better?"
Kerri Webster is in her 20th year at Edison Intermediate School in Westfield. After 9 years of teaching 6th grade Language Arts, Mrs. Webster transitioned into the counseling position that she has held for the past 11 years. As a teacher, she co-advised Edison’s Student Government Association and was an adult mentor for the school’s Peer Leadership program. Involvement in those activities sparked her interest in becoming a counselor.
Mrs. Webster earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and English from Trenton State College and a Master of Arts degree in School Counseling from The College of New Jersey. She holds certificates as an Elementary School Teacher, Teacher of English (K-12) and Student Personnel Services, and is affiliated with New Jersey School Counselor Association.
In nominating Mrs. Webster, a student describes her as “great, nice, caring, amazing, superstar, fun and ‘my hero.'” Mrs. Webster also received praise from a parent for “truly caring about each and every student under her guidance.”
In commenting on receiving the Optimist Award, Mrs. Webster said, " It has been such an honor to receive this award, not only because it makes feel proud of the work I’ve done with Westfield’s students over the years, but also because it is acknowledgment by the community that the role of counselor in our schools is valued and important.”