Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of a Westfield Board of Education Meeting May 5


We celebrated National Teacher Day and saluted the 600 teaching staff in our Westfield Public Schools who work to guide our students to become critical thinkers and good citizens. It was fitting that on this day we recognized the 2015 recipient of the Westfield Rotary Club’s Philhower Fellowship, Kareem Thompson, fifth grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School. Mr. Thompson received this significant honor bestowed on him by the Rotary based on glowing letters of nomination from parents and students. He was presented with a resolution by Board Vice President Gretchan Ohlig at the Board of Education meeting held in Jefferson School’s auditorium.  Congratulatory remarks also were made by his Principal, fellow teachers, and students who recited reasons why their teacher is so special.  Mr. Thompson, who began his career as a teacher here in 1999, thanked his family, colleagues, Mrs. Munoz, and his students for their support and for making a difference in his life.


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Gretchan Ohlig presented certificates of achievement to the following Westfield High School State Sectional Champions:

  • The Boys’ Cross-Country team consists of 88 Westfield High School student athletes. The team completed its 10th consecutive undefeated dual meet season, extending its winning streak to 66, dating back to September 2004. This championship season consisted of a Watchung Division Conference Championship, a runner-up finish in the Union County Championship, and a North 2 Group 4 Sectional Championship. The team finished 6th place in the Group 4 State Championship. Individually, Matt Russo, Andrew Harting-Smith, and Will Chandler finished 2-6-7 at the Union County Championship, earning them first-team All-County honors.  Matt Russo was the Watchung Division Conference Champion, runner-up at the Union County Championship, and State Sectional Champion.  His 11th-place finish at the Group 4 State Championship earned him an individual berth to the State Meet of Champions.  His 17th place finish in a time of 16:13 makes him the 7th fastest Blue Devil All-Time on the historic course at Holmdel Park.   Congratulations to all the members of the team and to Coach Chris Tafelski and Assistant Coach Paul Irwin.
  • For this 2014 season, 18 gymnasts competed on the Girls Gymnastics team, spanning all four grades. The team maintained an 8-0 record, captured the Union County Title for the ninth year in a row and the Sectional Title for the second year in a row. Six of the girls made First Team All-County: Jenna Rizkalla, Hannah Goldring, Meg Melillo, Hannah Prieto, Mae Devin, and Lexi Fasano.  Congratulations to the entire Westfield High School Girls Gymnastics Team and their coaches Amanda Diaz and Laurie McCormack for a highly successful season.
  • The Boys Swim team won the County and North II Sectional Championship, advancing all the way to the State Final.  According to Coach Jeff Knight, this team consisting of 42 swimmers, will be considered the greatest in the history of the program based on powerpoints. They powerpointed 5118 in a dual meet, which is the highest ever by a Westfield boys’ team. This is also the highest ever in NJ public school history and shows the depth of talent from top to bottom. Over the course of the season, a county and school record were broken. Mr. Knight stated that the boys’ team continued the tradition of representing Westfield in a manner in which the town should be proud.

We are proud of our student athletes, congratulate them and wish them continued success.


The Board reversed a decision on one HIB incident.


The Board approved three field trips which align with curriculum.

Legislation Chair Brendan Galligan announced that the committee will meet May 6 to discuss matters of interest to the school district, including the School Funding law.


Board member Peggy Oster reported on her attendance at the Parent Teacher Council’s general membership meeting on April 23, at which three members of the Westfield Police Department, including Chief David Wayman, were invited guests.  The discussion included laws that affect children and traffic concerns at and around schools. Mrs. Oster also reported on last week’s meeting of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which provides support in Trenton for suburban public school districts in New Jersey.



The public is invited to attend the 31st annual Westfield Public School District’s Department of Visual & Performing Arts Show, which will be held in the Westfield High School varsity gymnasium from May 12 - 14. A sampling of hundreds of artwork created by students representing all 10 public schools and grades ranging from K-12 will be on display at the annual show. On Tuesday, May 12 and Wednesday, May 13 the artwork can be viewed from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and in the evening from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Visitors are also welcomed on Thursday, May 14, from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Congratulations to Westfield High School’s varsity boys tennis team, who won its 11th consecutive Union County championship last week, and the 18th in the 25 years that George Kapner has coached the team. This spring, Mr. Kapner was the recipient of the Delbarton Commitment to High School Tennis Award at the Bryan Bennett tournament. 

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING - will be held Tuesday, May 19, at 302 Elm Street. Student achievements in Visual and Performing Arts will be recognized by the Board.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

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