Jacqueline Riley, first grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Westfield, is the 2013 recipient of the Westfield Rotary Club’s Philhower Fellowship in recognition of outstanding teaching at the elementary school level.
She will receive the award on May 7 as the guest of honor at the Rotary Club luncheon. That evening, she will be presented with a resolution from the Board of Education at a reception at Jefferson School, 1200 Boulevard, at 7:30 p.m. during the Board of Education meeting held in the school’s auditorium.
Mrs. Riley joined the Westfield Public Schools in 2006, and has taught second grade and currently first grade at Jefferson.
A graduate of Roanoke University, VA, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Education, she received a Master of Arts degree in Education and a second Master degree in Educational Leadership, both from the College of St. Elizabeth. While a student at Roanoke, she was a winner of the Anna Boyd Ellington Character Award.
In nominations received on her behalf, Mrs. Riley was noted for “her outstanding instructional skills, high expectations, inspiration, clear classroom objectives, savvy technology skills, remarkably positive approach to classroom management, genuine interest in her students’ lives, and her obvious warmth as a person.”
“She fosters a sense of community within her classroom by encouraging the basic idea that the students treat each other with kindness, compassion and respect,” added a parent.
A parent of a current first grader stated, “Mrs. Riley fosters feelings of self-worth and the love for learning in her students; and established rapport with her students to earn their trust and respect. Outside the classroom, Mrs. Riley makes exceptional efforts to reach out to the parents to keep them informed and involved about the development of their children.”
Mrs. Riley was cited for “her role in effectively advancing her students’ academic achievements and development of self-confidence in their place in society.”
A parent of children of multiple ages at Jefferson stated that Mrs. Riley “has set a strong educational foundation for our children which they will carry with them into the future.”
Upon receiving notification of the Philhower Fellowship, Mrs. Riley stated, “I am honored to have been selected among so many dedicated, highly qualified and deserving teachers in Westfield, to receive the Charles Philhower Fellowship award from the Westfield Rotary this year. The Westfield Rotary does an incredible job supporting the educational needs of the students in our schools."
Jefferson Principal Jeanette Munoz remarked, “I have always been impressed by Jackie’s skill, passion and creativity of teaching very young students lifelong lessons and enduring understandings.
Superintendent of Schools Margaret Dolan congratulated Jacqueline Riley for becoming the 21st recipient of the Philhower Fellowship. She also thanked the Rotary for “its recognition of this meaningful profession”.
The Philhower Fellowship was established in 1993 by the Rotary Club to honor former Westfield Educator and Rotarian Charles Philhower and to recognize the importance of teaching in the elementary grades.