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Former rep. candidate to lead school district outreach

New WPS Community Outreach Coordinator Matthew Garlo. (FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD — Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski has announced the hiring of Matthew Garlo as the community outreach coordinator for Westfield Public Schools. The position is a new one, encompassing both coordination of the Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) as well as running social media and marketing for the district.

Garlo, a Westfield native and 2015 graduate of Westfield High School, ran unsuccessfully against Kelly Pease in the 2020 race for state representative. Since the election, he has been heavily involved in pandemic response, first in a temporary position for Valley Bank and Trust as a liaison to the Small Business Administration on Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) grants, and then working with Curative, the vaccine provider at the Eastfield Mall, setting up mobile vaccine clinics.

Garlo said the district has high expectations for VIPS this year, after a year with no volunteers in the schools. He will be recruiting and training volunteers and acting as a liaison for them and school administrators. He is already working on the United Way of Pioneer Valley Day of Caring on Sept. 24, setting up a few work day projects at Westfield schools that he will help to coordinate.

He will also be managing the district’s social media, and has set up a new Instagram account @WestfieldPublicSchools and a Twitter account @WPS_MA, which he hopes students and others will follow.

“People are excited to be back, excited to showcase and document things in a new way, because we haven’t had that platform in the past. Instagram lets us engage with young people. We can put the same photos on Facebook, but it’s not the same audience,” Garlo said.

Garlo has been a mentor for a few years at Westfield High School, and will now be involved in recruiting and helping administrators to match mentors with students. He also hopes to continue himself as a mentor at WHS.

“I like how it’s not only just academics, but also talking about what they’ll be doing after school,” he said.

He will also participate in the Westfield Education to Business Alliance, working to strengthen non-profit and business relationships with the schools.

Garlo himself feels that relationship deeply. Before WHS, he attended Southampton Road School and Westfield Middle School North. His father is a long-time custodian at Westfield High School, and his nephew is attending eighth grade at Westfield Middle School.

“I value knowing what’s going on and being close as a community to the school district as a whole. I hope to enhance that in any way we can and make it fun along the way,” he said.

Garlo’s office will be in the Westwood Building at 94 N. Elm St., where he will report to Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski. He may be reached by email at [email protected].

“We are very excited to get our VIPS program up and running. We are also enthusiastic about the potential of formalizing our community outreach efforts. As a product of the Westfield Public Schools, I am confident that Mr. Garlo will thrive in this new role,” Czaporowski said.

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