Grate congratulates political action committee members in referendum passing, Montalone changes role


Compiled by Noah Alatza

The Westfield Washington School Board met June 13. The next school board meeting has been rescheduled from its original date of July 11 to July 18. For more, visit

What happened: Supt. Sherry Grate honored Westfield Yes Political Action Committee chairpersons.

What it means: Grate honored three Westfield Yes PAC dignitaries, Danyele Easterhaus, Jeff Boller and Ashley Knott. In early May, voters approved a construction referendum with 54 percent of the vote. Grate expressed thanks to the chairpersons for their efforts. “This was a great balance on the team, (Westfield Washington Schools) cannot say enough,” she said. The three also received recognition from the school board. “You have made a difference in the lives of all Westfield students,” Grate said. “On behalf of the administration and school board, thank you for the many hours of your dedication and support. Without you, I just do not know how we could have been successful.”


What happened:  District adds, changes staff roles in district.

What it means: The district announced 25 new hires have been added since the end of the 2017 school year. “It has been pretty busy, to say the least. I always appreciate the curriculum work all the teachers put in during this time,” said Chris Baldwin, WWS executive director of Human Resources. A new assistant transportation director was named. Joe Montalone, who served 11 years as the principal of Maple Glen Elementary School, is the district’s new director of operations. “I am deeply grounded and humbled for this opportunity and endeavor. It has been a blessing to my life,” Montalone said. “I am grateful for serving the community in this new capacity. However, Maple Glen will always be a very special place.”


What happened: New business was approved, including appointing a construction manager.

What it means: The appointment of a construction manager was recommended by Grate. The manager would help oversee construction for the district, which is planned for next summer. A resolution was approved by the board and carried unanimously.

Nick Verhoff, the district’s director of business operations, asked the board to reaffirm its commitment to athletic fees for the upcoming school year. Verhoff said the participation fees offset costs. “It has become more of a permanent fee, a user fee. Where most school districts would charge for those not participating, we do not,” Verhoff said.

The cost is $70 per student for each sport at the middle and high schools. In other business news, it was announced that Carey Ridge Elementary School is losing a number of computers. The district said it wants to move away from stationary computer labs and put most of them on carts. Each elementary is getting two carts except for Shamrock Springs.


What happened: Westfield High School Principal Stacey McGuire reported on Career Education Initiative.

What it means: McGuire presented the school board with the high school’s Career Education Initiative. “The Idea Farm and Shark Tank (competition, held earlier this year) was very cool and our community really hopped on board with that,” school board member Amber Huff Willis said. McGuire emphasized how the vision of the high school will not change.

“We are not changing message or vision, this is an evolvement,” she said. “Change is in many forms. We are always thinking about what is next. The piece of preparedness has not changed. The whole notion of our moral obligation is that kids are prepared for the day after graduation, the power of choice, self-advocacy and those types of things.”