Incumbent candidate Brian Morrissey is running unopposed for a one-year unexpired term in the Nov. 5 election for Westfield Board of Education. A candidates' forum will be held at Westfield High School, Wednesday, Oct. 23. Questions for the forum may be submitted to ptc@westfieldnjk12.org by Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Name:  Brian Morrissey
Age: 44
How long have you lived in Westfield? Two years

What are your qualifications for office? As a corporate auditor in the commercial banking industry, I am well versed in policy, goal setting, finance and budgeting. These skills have translated to my current role as a board member. My strengths are being an attentive listener, being open to change and innovation and in analyzing and interpreting data. Due to my skills and experience, I was vetted and rapidly oriented to my role as a member of the Westfield Board of Education.

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What would your top priorities be if elected to the Board of Education?

  1. To maintain the standard of excellence of the Westfield Public Schools, by continuing to work with the Superintendent and the other board members in a supportive and collaborative way.
  2. Ensuring there is sufficient budget and faculty to limit classroom sizes.
  3. Ensuring there is sufficient funding to bring computers and proper technology into the classroom to meet present and future learning demands.
  4. The Board of Education continues to take steps to ensure our students, teachers and administrators feel safe in our schools.

Do you support the proposed school bond referendums for full day kindergarten? After careful consideration, I voted in favor of the bond referendums for full day kindergarten. Only 10% of the public school districts in New Jersey do not offer full day kindergarten. The academic benefits children derive from full day kindergarten are well documented, including significant academic gains, social-emotional benefits and improved self-confidence. In my opinion, full day kindergarten is a critical component of a child’s early elementary education curriculum.

MORE: Submit Questions for Westfield Board of Education Candidates Night

How would you work to promote student well-being and safety? The well-being and safety of the district’s students has always been, and will continue to be, of utmost importance to the district administrators, teachers, myself and my fellow board members. Everyone has worked hard to ensure appropriate security measures have been implemented to protect the students, teachers and administrators.  The district has taken steps to restrict physical access to all school buildings and to positively identify visitors before admitting them into the schools. Duress alarms, safety film, communication systems and security cameras have been installed at all the schools. Through the school district’s partnership with the Westfield Police Department, on duty police officers are performing security sweeps twice daily. Similar to our peer school districts, we have employed School Resource Officers in our intermediate schools and high school.

New classroom doors and security gates will also be installed in every school in the district. Other physical safeguards are also under consideration.  

What else you would like the readers to know? As a board member I’ve seen firsthand how effective board leadership, working in concert with the Superintendent, can make a difference in the lives of the students and can positively impact the culture of the school district. I believe that public education and strong student achievement is the key to our future, and I would like to play a role in shaping the future.

I’d like to thank Peggy Oster and my fellow board members for giving me the opportunity to serve on the Westfield Board of Education. It has been a real privilege to be a part of this Board and to serve my community.