WESTFIELD, NJ — Several educators, a custodian and a student received awards during the Westfield school board meeting Tuesday night.

School officials awarded the 22nd Annual Optimist Club Award, which recognizes the importance of teaching at the intermediate level, to John Stasi, a social studies teacher at Edison Intermediate School, and Sharon Dorry, a nurse and health teacher at Roosevelt Intermediate School.

“This award should easily have gone to any of our school’s outstanding teachers,” Stasi said as he accepted his award. “They are truly the most incredible, intelligent, selfless human beings I have ever been around.”

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Dorry used the opportunity to explain the importance of health education.

“As a health educator, it is vital that we explain how all three sides of the health triangle, social, mental-emotional, and physical health, affect one another,” Dorry said. “We talk about making good decisions: not just how, but why.”

Read more about Stasi and Dorry here.

High School Staff Recognition

English teacher Aimee Burgoyne-Black received this year’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award. The award was established to annually recognize a teacher who demonstrates commitment to intellectual pursuits beyond the classroom, serves as a model and inspiration to the high school community, according to a district press release.

“This is a place where academic freedom is a bedrock principle,” Burgoyne-Black said.

English teacher Erin McKeon earned this year’s Above and Beyond Award. The award recognizes a teacher or counselor who has made a difference in the life of a struggling child either socially, emotionally or academically, the press release states.

“We show up each day for these kids,” McKeon said. “Watching my students thrive academically and achieve personal growth will always be the most rewarding part of my career.”

The Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO) Teacher of the Year Award annually recognizes a teacher who is encouraging and motivating, is a good role model, and shows respects for co-workers, students and parents, according to the release. 

Special Education Teacher Lara Rinaldi received this year’s award.

“I can only be an outstanding teacher because I have outstanding students,” Rinaldi said. “I truly adore them, so thank you to all of them for being the best.”

Custodian Mario Arana received this year’s Robert and Linda Foose Memorial Award, which is named for a former principal and teacher at Westfield High School.

“I have a responsibility to take care of your kids,” said Arana, expressing his thanks for the recognition.

New Jersey Association of School Business Officials Scholarship

Westfield High School senior Adam Holtzman received this year’s New Jersey Association of School Business Officials Scholarship.

School Business Administrator Dana Sullivan presented the award to Holtzman, who will attend The University of Wisconsin in the fall.

At Westfield High School, Holtzman writes for the student newspaper, The Hi's Eye, and serves as a peer leader for freshman students, Sullivan said.

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