WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield High School community has honored four teachers with awards of excellence, the school district announced. 

During virtual announcements to staff and students last week, Principal Mary Asfendis named the award winners, who were nominated by students, staff and parents at the school, school officials said.

Science teacher Suzanne Glynn earned the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, established to annually recognize a teacher who, through both excellence in teaching and a demonstrated commitment to intellectual pursuits beyond the classroom, serves as a model and inspiration to the high school community, officials said. 

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Those who nominated Glynn say “the time, effort, and care she puts into her classes” and her obvious love of “every aspect of chemistry” makes her deserving of the award. 

“Her excitement is infectious as I have never seen anyone leave chemistry without a smile,” one student nominator said. “Mrs. Glynn answers all of our questions and we have the best class discussions.”

The Above and Beyond Award recognizes a teacher or counselor who has made a difference in the life of a struggling child either socially, emotionally or academically. This year’s recipient is special education teacher Lillian (Gail) Alston who is lauded as an educator who believes in her students and encourages them to follow their interests, school officials said.

“From the time I started in her Earth Science class, she always encouraged me to pursue my interest in science and animals,” said a student nominator. “Her class always made my day and helped me get through my first year of high school.”

Mathematics/Project ‘79 teacher Louis DeAngelo received the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO) Teacher of the Year Award which annually recognizes a teacher who is encouraging and motivating, is a good role model, and shows respects for co-workers, students and parents, officials said. 

DeAngelo, who also serves as advisor to the Robotics Club, is applauded by those who nominated him for his “infinite patience,” “endless energy,” and for teaching students to be leaders.

“He is completely devoted to teaching and to the students,” said one nominator.

For providing extra support for struggling students and for “checking in on his students to make sure their academic and personal lives are going well,” mathematics teacher Matthew Gironda was honored with the Robert and Linda Foose Memorial Award, named for a former principal and teacher. 

“In addition, Mr. Gironda has prepared full hour virtual lessons while we are on home instruction” due to COVID-19,” said a student nominator. “I was super nervous about falling behind in the class, but he has prepared lessons and notes to share with the class that have made us feel a lot more prepared and confident.”

“We are grateful for all of the nominations that recognize our amazing teachers and staff for all they do to promote a positive learning environment. The four teachers were selected for the impact they make in students’ lives, both in and outside the classroom,” Asfendis said in the release. “I am proud to work with these phenomenal educators who are passionate, dedicated and inspiring to their students. They are all well-deserving of their respective awards.”

The awardees will be honored by the Westfield Board of Education at a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, June 9, at 7 p.m. Instructions on how to access the virtual board meeting can be found on the district website at www.westfieldnjk12.org under the Board tab.

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