Westfield Newsroom

Six city teachers receive Excellence in Teaching Awards

Westfield Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski with District Technology Coach Erika Masciadrelli. (WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – Westfield Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski and Director of Assessment Denise Ruszala Feb. 5 made the rounds to surprise the winners of the 2020 Excellence in Teaching Awards in their classrooms, in front of their students and colleagues.
At their first stop at Westfield High School, Ruszala said they tricked Technology Coach Erika Masciadrelli into joining them to surprise English teacher Jill Keenan, and gave the certificate and bouquet of flowers to them both for receiving the honor.
“It certainly was a very nice honor,” Masciadrelli said.
“In terms of technology, she does a wonderful job for our district in supporting our teachers,” Czaporowski said about Masciadrelli.
“She’s our Google guru,” added Ruszala.

Excellence in Teaching honoree Wesfield High School Science Teacher Kate Pawul. (WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS PHOTO)

Other teachers the pair surprised included Kate Pawul in Westfield High School, Mary Loughrey in Southampton Road Elementary School, Patricia Wysocki at Highland Elementary School, and new teacher Sarah Scott, media library specialist at Westfield Middle School.
Scott, who Czaporowski said was instrumental in helping WMS with the 1:1 Chromebook rollout this year, was in the middle of teaching all the students about their Chromebooks in the auditorium when they arrived to surprise her with the announcement.


Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski, Westfield Middle School Librarian/Media Specialist Sarah Scott and Principal Paul Newton. (WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS PHOTO)

“A lot of the teachers were in the middle of their teaching. They were excited and surprised to receive this award,” Ruszala said, adding that in many cases their principals and colleagues joined them when the announcements were made.
Ruszala said she oversees the Excellence in Teaching Awards for the district. Teachers are nominated by the individual schools through the principal, and a district selection committee scores the applications using a rigorous selection criteria.
This year, Westfield was given six slots including one for a new employee of less than three years.

WHS English Language Arts Teacher Jill Keenan with her AP class. (WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS PHOTO)

Keenan is an Advanced Placement English Language Arts teacher at Westfield High School. Her nomination touted that ”she has developed strategies for literacy analysis that she shared with other teachers on an online forum for which she received recognition from teachers across the nation.” She is the founder of the Community Closet at WHS, where she collects donations of school supplies, personal items and clothing that any student can access for free to support students.

Southampton Road Grade 2 Teacher Mary Loughrey, Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski and Principal Kathleen O’Donnell. (WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS PHOTO)

Second grade teacher at Southampton Road School Loughrey,’s nomination noted “she is a teacher who takes advantage of all district and school professional development moving conceptual ideas into practice. Her lessons are multimodal, interactive and designed to reach all learners in her classroom. She works closely with other teachers in the building to improve instruction for all students.””

Masciadrelli’s nomination stated that “she works with educators at every grade level. She is skilled at tailoring support to teachers based on their skill level, comfort level and experience with technology.  She has been instrumental in assisting WMS and WIS in the implementation of the 1:1 Chromebook Access initiative this school year.”

Pawul, aWHS science teacher, was nominated in part for creating “relationships with local colleges and universities that have allowed WHS students to visit college level simulation labs. She helped write the curriculum for the newly created Health Career course and sits on its advisory board.”

Patricia Wysocki, English as a Second Language teacher at Highland Elementary School. (WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS PHOTO)

ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher Wysocki’s nomination noted that “she is an expert in the field and well versed in best practices for ESL students. She regularly co-plans and co-teaches with her colleagues to provide relevant, rigorous learning opportunities for her students. She has provided professional development for Westfield Public School staff during ERSD days and professional development days. She is an active member of the Multicultural Committee at Highland and is an advocate for supporting Highland families in need.”
Scott received the new teacher award and was touted for being “responsible for transforming the library’s physical space at WMS to create a beautiful space for teaching and learning. She was instrumental in the implementation of the 1:1 technology Chromebook student access program this school year.”
In addition to the certificates and flower bouquets made by Westfield Technical Academy students, each recipient will receive a check for $500 for personal use ($250 for the new teacher), along with tuition incentives and scholarships offered by six major colleges and universities in the region and other awards.
An awards banquet will be May 6. The program will feature a new awards presentation that elevates and celebrates every winner, Ruszala said, adding that she calls it the “Academy Awards for Teachers,” including the red carpet. “It is a fun night,” she said.
The Excellence in Teaching Awards program is made possible by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in partnership with MassMutual and the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.
“I love doing this every year. It shows what dedicated teachers we have here in Westfield. We are fortunate to have them, and our students are fortunate to have them,” Czaporowski said.

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