Westfield board hires four elementary school teachers

WESTFIELD — Westfield Academy and Central School District Board of Education members approved the hiring of four new elementary teachers at their regular May meeting, filling four out of five vacancies left by the retirement of long-term faculty members.

“In the last five weeks we’ve been interviewing and interviewing and interviewing,” said elementary principal Dr. Mary Rockey.

Upon the recommendation of Superintendent David Davison, board members hired Kennadee Woods, Elizabeth Drescher, Kathleen Machemer, and Hannah Bena.

Woods holds a certification in early childhood education, from birth to grade 2. Drescher is certified in childhood education for grades 1 through 6 and for students with disabilities. Machamer’s certification is also in childhood education for grades 1 through 6 and for students with disabilities. Bena holds her certification in music, K through 12.

Drescher was present at the meeting and expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to teach at Westfield. “I am one of the people who is being considered to teach here next year,” she said. “Now you can put a face with the name. I’m really excited to be here.”

Rocky noted that interviews to replace the fifth retiree are still underway.

In other business, Davison reported on training he received at Erie2 BOCES on improving the district’s ability to assess any potential threats and to prevent violence.

The training followed guidelines developed by Dr. Dewey Cornell. This guide, known as the Virginia Model for Student Threat Assessment, is the most widely used guide in the United States, Davison said. “It gives you guidelines and questions that are critical to ask when assessing a potential threat,” he said. “It’s not a cookie cutter approach.”

The board also approved moving forward with a proposed wall of fame. Originally, an athletic wall of fame had been proposed; however, board members decided the idea should be expanded beyond athletics.

“I think it is a meaningful way to honor people who have gone above and beyond,” said board member Wendy Dyment. “I think it’s good for the district.”

Davison also updated board members on the building condition survey, which is now complete. “We will go over the recommendations and prioritize them,” he said.

Davison also noted that there have been 19 applicants for the position of secondary principal, which will be left vacant by the retirement of Ivana Hite. So far, eight applicants have been interviewed, he said.

In another matter, Hite told the board that a representative from the Governor’s Traffic Safety committee spoke to seniors before the prom. She gave a very emotive presentation because she lost her own son in a motor vehicle accident.

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