In a concerted effort to lay the foundation for the Westfield Public Schools through the year 2020, approximately 35 people gathered in the Lincoln School gymnasium on Saturday, Feb. 6, to begin the development of a new strategic plan for the district. 

The process began in 2015 with the Westfield Board of Education’s Parent/Community Survey. The new multi-year plan will mark the fourth one adopted by the school district since 1998.

Gretchan Ohlig, president of the Westfield Board of Education, opened the meeting by welcoming the group that included fellow Board members, administrators, teachers, parents, civic leaders and members of the community-at-large. She acknowledged their interest and dedication to the school district.

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Superintendent of Schools Margaret Dolan provided a presentation which included key points from the survey, updated demographic data, and a school district overview of operational and educational strengths and challenges.

As the members of the Strategic Planning Council prepared to begin the tasks ahead of them, Dr. Dolan thanked them for dedicating their time to begin the important process of planning for the future of the Westfield Schools.

The day-long discussions were facilitated by Dennis Cheesebrow of TeamWorks International, who previously served the Board of Education during a workshop session in 2015.

Divided into small groups, the members of the Strategic Planning Council identified key trends and influences in the district and began sharing their vision for the Westfield Public Schools by participating in thought-provoking interactive workshops.

“Saturday’s meeting was a unique opportunity for stakeholders in our community to help the Westfield Public Schools in preparing our young people for a meaningful and successful future.  I look forward to continuing our work together toward that important goal,” stated Dr. Dolan.  The group will meet again on Saturday, March 19, to continue this goal-setting process.

Members of the Strategic Planning Council include:  Joelle Achilarre – Teacher, Franklin Elementary School; Mary Asfendis – Assistant Principal, Westfield High School; Brian Auker – Chief Technology Officer; Barbara Ball – Human Resources Specialist; Andrew Bausch – Teacher, Roosevelt Intermediate School; Lisa Bertone – Secretary Business Office; Matt Bolton – Principal, Edison Intermediate School; Andrea Brennan – Supervisor, Social Studies K-12; Nicole Breslow – McKinley Elementary School parent; Donnell Carr – Community volunteer; John Cheddar – Teacher, Westfield High School; Alison Cymbor – Lincoln School Kindergarten parent; Margaret Dolan – Superintendent; Amy Eisenstein – McKinley Elementary School and Edison Intermediate School parent; Russell Finestein – Westfield Foundation President and Town Attorney; Brendan Galligan – Board of Education; Robert Garrison – Board of Education; Susan Gleason – Jefferson Elementary School parent; TranLe Hill – Child Study Team member; Lisa Kops-Wendel – Westfield Parent Teacher Council Vice President; Lorre Korecky – Coordinator, School/Community Relations; Christopher Langhart – Board of Education; Ginny Leiz – Board of Education; Maureen Mazzarese – Director of Counseling; Gretchan Ohlig – Board of Education President; Peggy Oster – Board of Education Vice President; Charles Ostroff – Board of Education; Paul Pineiro – Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Program; Mitchell Slater – Board of Education; Marie Sloan – Westfield High School parent; Ken Soriero – Westfield Planning Board Attorney; Dana Sullivan – Business Administrator/Board Secretary; Dick Trabert – Community volunteer; Michael Weissman – Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services; Randy Wojcik – Wilson Elementary School and Roosevelt Intermediate School parent; Audrey Zavetz – Principal, Lincoln School; and Lindsay Zerafa – Lincoln School Kindergarten and Washington Elementary School parent.