This year, as Westfield celebrates its 20 Year Anniversary and reminisces over the past, the school also celebrates its future. Welcoming 31 new staff members, Westfield has many new faces, from FCPS and beyond. To help integrate and introduce them to the school community, The Watchdog got in contact with a few of them:
Sarah Murphy, Social Studies
Murphy is moving here from Rachel Carson Middle School. She has been extremely happy with her Westfield experience thus far, and is most looking forward to being able to see students grow over four years, rather than just two in middle school. She would love to see her students grow up and become functioning adults.
Melanie West, Business
This year, Westfield is introducing a new elective, Honors Economics and Personal Finance (EPF), which West is teaching. She has been teaching EPF for years now at Fairfax High School, where she still teaches four classes. On B days, she commutes to Westfield in time for her one sixth period class.
“It is not always easy to know what to plan to bring back and forth to make sure that I have all the papers and materials that I need for the day. Thankfully I have an amazing bunch of Business and Marketing teachers who are so quick to jump in and help me out, [and] the students have been great and so flexible with me,” she remarked.
Jacqueline Blizzard, Science
Blizzard is joining the Westfield staff with a multitude of experience under her belt, having taught in FCPS since 1996. Coming here from TSR-Marshall, she is excited to be a part of a new teaching staff and work with new people. Additionally, she is pleased with her students this year.
Blizzard has had a smooth transition so far, stating, “From the first day, the principal, Dr. Copeland, made me feel welcomed.”
Kaitlyn Huizing, Counselor
Moving to Northern Virginia from New Jersey, Huizing is starting both her FCPS journey and her school counseling career at Westfield. So far, she has had an easy transition into the “great atmosphere” of Westfield, with the only difficulty in “finding [her] way around this massive school!”
“I am excited to meet and learn more about the students throughout the school year. Everyone is so unique!” Huizing exclaimed.
Laura Waterman, Administration
Although it is her first year at Westfield, Waterman has been teaching in FCPS since for 17 years, working at many schools within the county.
So far, the transition between schools has been great for her, with the staff being very “kind and supportive” towards her.
Waterman is thrilled to be coming to Westfield during such an important year, the 20 year anniversary, stating that she is “excited to get to know the students, families, and staff.”
Erin Turner, Health and PE
Turner is coming to Westfield after teaching at South Lakes High School.
“I love the vibe here, both [for] teachers and students,” she remarked.
She has had a great year so far, and hopes to continue the trend, noting the welcoming nature of the school community.
Margaret Sisler, School Based Technology Specialist
When Sisler first moved to FCPS, she taught at Virginia Run and Eagle Run Elementary School(s). However, she then worked as the School Based Technology Specialist (SBTS) at both Brookfield Elementary School and Chantilly High School.
Since then, Sisler has worked in FCPS Instructional Services, with a focus on the integration of FCPSOn, the program by which students receive school-issued laptops, within high schools.
Sisler’s first day at Westfield was October 1. And while that may have seemed an awkward transition, she has felt very welcomed by all staff, especially the faculty in the tech office.
“I’m so excited to be back in a school! While I loved the goals of our work in Instructional Services, I missed the connection and energy of working in a school with students and teachers,” she remarked.
She is also excited to help students develop Portrait of a Graduate skills, which are skills “will ensure success in life outside of [the school’s] classes.”
Monica Charles-Williams, English
Charles-Williams is also transferring to Westfield from South Lakes High School, where she taught for four years. She is prepared to get to know the staff and students, as well as teach her English classes.
“I was nervous about transferring to a new school and not knowing anyone. I can definitely relate to how some of the 9th grade students feel,” she explained, “ However, Westfield has a supportive and caring environment that makes me excited about coming to work every day. My students are simply amazing and I am proud to say that I am officially and bulldog!”
Lauren Jones, Technology Support
Jones has worked in FCPS for nine years, and moved to Westfield from the Nancy Sprague Center, where she was also an IT Support Specialist for three years. However, she is not a stranger to the school.
“I worked at Westfield from 2008-2015,” she explained, “and I am also a graduate so I’m glad to be home. I’m looking forward to the experience of working with the student laptops for the first time.”
Jones also coaches volleyball at the school, and enjoys seeing her team throughout the day.