Three teachers and one custodian have been honored by the Westfield High School community with awards of excellence. Interim Principal James DeSarno announced the award winners on May 9, who were nominated by students, staff and parents at the school.
English teacher Aimee Burgoyne-Black is the recipient of 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. Those who nominated Burgoyne-Black say she “cares for her students on a personal level and works hard to help her students succeed.” One student wrote that Burgoyne-Black “truly impacts all of our lives for the better, helping us to succeed, being empathetic and positive, and shaping us to be accepting people.”
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 English/Project ‘79 teacher Erin McKeon who is lauded as an educator who is “truly determined to set up her students for success while also taking a noteworthy personal interest in each individual’s emotional well-being.”
Special education teacher Lara Rinaldi 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. Rinaldi is applauded by those who nominated her for her “commitment to student success,” and for “coming up with inventive ways” to help her students learn. “She is what a teacher should be,” says one nominator. “She makes us feel successful.”
For his “positive attitude” and “friendly” demeanor, custodian Mario Arana was honored with the Robert and Linda Foose Memorial Award, named for a former principal and teacher. “Great work. Greater person,” says one letter of nomination. “He always talks to the students and makes my and others’ day,” says another.
The awardees will be honored by the Westfield Board of Education at a public meeting on Tuesday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 105 at 302 Elm Street.