Hello Westfield residents!  My name is Priti Dave, and I am running for a seat on the Board of Education. I am writing this candidate statement as my two children are logged in for a remote day of learning. In a world where remote learning and masks in schools are part of the new normal, I am grateful that our Board of Education, administrators and teachers have devised a way for the students to learn in a hybrid model where they are able to have in-person interactions with friends, fellow students and teachers.  It is this type of focus on education and students, coupled with Westfield’s sense of community, that drew me to this town.

My husband, Sandeep Talati, and I moved to Westfield over 12 years ago. Both of our children went to Franklin Elementary School and now, both are in middle school — our daughter is in 8th grade at Roosevelt and our son is in 6th grade at Edison. We’ve had wonderful experiences at the schools, and have found that the teachers, administrators and other parents are supportive, hard-working, generous with their time and focused on bringing the best education and opportunities to students.

As a member of the Westfield Board of Education, it would be my privilege to work with others to support teachers and administrators and use my knowledge and experience to help the district make meaningful strides towards improvement and growth where possible.  I would strive to review the current remote learning program to ensure the needs of students, parents, teachers and school administrators are continuing to be met while focusing on being flexible enough to work with schools to implement changes to school schedules and curriculums as the needs of students and teachers continue to change and stronger alternatives become available.

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I graduated NYU Law School in 2001 and am currently a corporate attorney at a large, global law firm in New York City. I am a skilled advocate, negotiator and collaborator and none of that would be possible without having a keen ability to listen to others, understand different perspectives and clearly explain my position and reasoning. These skills are essential to a Board of Education member who has to manage competing interests, work within given parameters and resources and still be transparent to the Westfield community on the reasons for decisions.

As a mom of two kids, I’ve also been very involved in the community.  While my kids were at Franklin, I was an active member of the Franklin PTO, was involved with both girl scouts and boy scouts, and coached my daughter’s soccer team until 3rd grade. As an Indian-American woman, I am focused on diversity and worked with Franklin administrators and parents to create a Cultural Diversity Night at Franklin.  As a board member, I want to work with the board, teachers and administrators to make sure that we are respecting diversity and teaching our kids the value of diversity, because a diverse community is better for everyone.

The Town of Westfield has so many resources, from tax revenues to physical assets to a breadth of skillful and knowledgeable people who are always willing to volunteer their time. As a Board of Education member, I want to maximize all of these resources to improve the education model in the current environment, to foster tolerance and appreciation of diversity, and to offer necessary resources and support for all students — from special needs students to those suffering from anxiety to athletes to gifted education students, and everyone in between — so that they can reach their potential.  This can only be achieved if all of us — parents, students, teachers and administrators — are all working towards the same goal. 

Any great town needs everyone to step up, and I’d like to do that for the Town of Westfield. The above is a little of what I can offer. I hope that you will consider voting for me for the Westfield Board of Education.