Dear Westfield Residents,

In so many ways, this is a unique historic moment for our country. The challenges posed by a global pandemic coupled with unprecedented political polarization make it more imperative than ever for us to come together as a community. As such, I write to introduce myself and ask for your vote in the Board of Education elections.  

Thanks to the hard work and creativity of our teachers, principals, and administrators, Westfield schools are off to a good start. It is no secret that most residents choose to live in Westfield due to its strong tradition of excellence in education. That was certainly a driving factor for my family in choosing Westfield when we moved from Dallas, Texas. 

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My husband and I wanted a community that would provide our three children with a strong public education as well as a safe and welcoming environment. We appreciate the academic rigor at Westfield High School, where our daughter and son attend, and the intellectually and emotionally nurturing environment at Tamaques Elementary School where our youngest son attends. 

I am currently a professor at Rutgers University Law School where I teach Torts, Evidence, Race and the Law, Middle East Law, and National Security and direct the Center for Security, Race, and Rights. I received my Master of Arts in Middle East Studies and a J.D. from the University of Texas in Austin.

Prior to entering academia, I practiced law at Cohen, Milstein, Sellers and Toll where I represented low-income employees in class action lawsuits alleging a pattern and practice of discrimination on account of gender and collective actions alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

I entered law teaching out of a deep commitment to education and learning. My parents immigrated from Egypt to the United States for the purpose of pursuing educational and economic opportunity for themselves and their children. Indeed, high quality public education was the key to our family’s social mobility. My parents arrived with minimal material resources, but through hard work, resilience and grit raised a law professor, a medical doctor and an entrepreneur. 

My myriad professional experiences working with and teaching people of different races, ethnicities and socio-economic classes have taught me the importance of possessing cultural competency for professional success in our diverse society. I also have an insider’s perspective on the types of academic skills and life experiences that are necessary for success in college, which I hope to contribute as a member of the Westfield Board of Education.

Students must not only be academically prepared in a traditional sense, but they must also be resilient, possess grit and be able to collaborate with people from different backgrounds than their own. Indeed, our children will be working in the most demographically diverse society and a globally interconnected economy for which they should be prepared throughout their K-12 education.

As a parent, an educator and product of the public education system, I deeply appreciate the service of those on the school board when I was a student. I hope to pay it forward by investing in my community’s public education system. Working together through a growth mindset, we can continue Westfield’s tradition of excellence in education to the benefit of all students.  I encourage you to learn more about our campaign, Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders, at www.westfieldptl.org

Sahar Aziz