Dear Friends & Neighbors:

During the years that my children attended McKinley School and now during their time at Edison Intermediate School, I have witnessed the commitment of the teachers and staff and the impact they have on the students. Their dedication has inspired me to serve on the board of education and give back to Westfield.

There was a message I heard last year that when we face a crucial moment we need to go “all in." We need to make a total commitment to a course of action that we believe in. We often focus on the problems rather than what is working well and how can we do more of it and do it better. We need to do it better for the students, the teachers, the administrators and the taxpayers.

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I was asked by my daughters, Elizabeth and Caroline, why am I running for the Board of Education? The answer was simple. I want to be all in. I want to ensure that they, their friends and all the children in the school district can build a strong learning foundation that will provide them better opportunities as they look toward college and entering the workforce.

We can look at the rankings, where Newsweek ranked Westfield the 29th best high school in the nation or New Jersey Monthly ranked us 21st in New Jersey, and stay comfortable the way we are. Or we can look for new ideas that will benefit our community and continue to make a difference for our children.

Using my technology background and fiscal responsibility, areas I would like to work on as a member of the board of education are:

  1. Investing in technology resources and training for our teachers so they can properly prepare our students to become part of a 21st Century workforce.
  2. Helping develop an adaptive learning curriculum to tailor instruction to each individual student so they can learn at their pace with their own personal goals.
  3. Offering teacher’s career paths for success as found in the private sector.
  4. Integrating the BOE into the student community by coordinating small group sessions to listen to students, teachers and administrators and attending athletic games to see what we can do to improve on an already excellent program.
  5. Consider alternate funding options such as an alumni fund and licensing so we can establish new programs and not pass these new program costs along to the taxpayer.
  6. Ensuring transparency, common sense and the advice of knowledgeable professionals rather than one’s own self-interested opinion or those of a vocal minority.

I have always shown a willingness to work others and have put my time and talent to work for Westfield. Whether working with Town departments to identify content and help the Town restructure the Town web site, establishing the Town’s social media strategy, or working with local officials and emergency responders to disseminate information during Superstorm Sandy, I have been actively working behind the scenes on behalf of residents for many years.

I can offer you my very best to represent our community on the Board of Education by giving my time and talent. I will work together with the dedicated and talented members of the Board and our school administrators to benefit all residents of the Westfield community. I want to work together to ensure nothing but the best for our schools. I am “All in!

I would appreciate your vote on Tuesday, November 4th by selecting ballot position “5”. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email me at mike@bielen.net or visit my website at www.bielen2014.com.

Michael Bielen
Candidate, Westfield Board of Education