Nominate Your Favorite Westfield Elementary Teacher for Philhower Fellowship Award

McKinley Elementary School teacher Susanne Bonhote was last year’s Philhower Fellowship Award winner. Credits: Westfield Public Schools

WESTFIELD, NJ — Nominations are now being accepted for the 25th Annual Charles Philhower Fellowship Award, given each year to a full-time elementary teacher in the Westfield Public Schools, Marta Alexandre, president of the Westfield Rotary Club, has announced.

“The Westfield Rotary Club’s Philhower Fellowship continues an outstanding tradition of excellent cooperation with our schools for the benefit of our children,” Superintendent Margaret Dolan said.

Letters of nomination are sought from interested citizens, parents, students and Westfield Public School staff members and should be sent via email to or mailed to Charles Philhower Fellowship Committee of the Westfield Rotary Club, c/o Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 302 Elm St., Westfield, NJ 07090.

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The deadline is April 19.

Nominations should specify ways in which the teacher has demonstrated outstanding teaching, interest in children and continued pursuit of professional growth. The teacher must be a full-time faculty member in grades kindergarten through fifth in the Westfield Public Schools for a minimum of five years. 

The fellowship recipient will be honored at a Rotary luncheon and at a Westfield Board of Education meeting, both scheduled for May 9, and will receive a Rotary grant to further professional growth or to enhance classroom activities for students.

The Philhower  award was instituted in 1993 by the Westfield Rotary Club to recognize the importance of teaching in the elementary grades and to honor Westfield Rotarian and School Superintendent Charles Philhower. Philhower, who died in 1962, was supervising principal (superintendent) of Westfield Public Schools for 30 years – from 1917 to 1947 – and was president of the Westfield Rotary Club in 1929-30. As Rotary President, he instituted the club’s annual scholarship awards to graduating Westfield students.                                                 

Members of the selection committee will include three Rotarians, two elementary school principals, Superintendent of Schools Margaret Dolan and the immediate past Philhower Fellow, Susanne Bonhote, Achieve teacher at McKinley School. 

Past Philhower awardees have included Kareem Thompson, Coral Venturino, Jacqueline Riley, Frank Uveges, Diane Eisen, Diana Collins, Karen Geddis, Catherine McGarry, Michael Burgess, Karen Yula, Mary Dura, Stacie DeChristopher, Michele Moise, Carole Kling, Anna Jane Sabbagh, Trista Pollard, Eva Morton, Angela LaCarrubba, Claudia Andreski, Bette Tuthill, Carol Joyce, Carol A. Mastroianni and Susan Feldman Glick.

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