Letter: BOE's Ohlig Will Seek Three-Year Term
The Board of Education member was appointed in January to fill the vacancy left by Julia Walker.
I am writing to publicly announce my intention to run for a three-year seat on the Westfield Board of Education. It was an honor to be appointed to the Board in January to fill an open vacancy and this time of service has been a positive experience. I believe I have become a contributing member of the Board in this time and I would like to continue in that role. Certainly, the involvement I’ve had this year will allow me to hit the road running should I be elected to serve again.
I believe I am uniquely qualified to serve on the Board. First, I have the perspective and experience of a parent with three children currently enrolled in our district’s schools. As a parent, I have become intimately familiar with Westfield’s special education system and the tremendous resources it demands to provide our most vulnerable students with the best education possible. Second, my professional training as an attorney has provided me with the ability to listen, to quickly process lots of information, to identify core issues, and to solve problems in a rational and logical way despite the heat or emotion of the moment. Finally, I have many years of volunteer experience in our schools and community. I participated in the Westfield School District Strategic Planning Council, which created the district's current 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. My involvement in this process gave me the opportunity to focus on the wide-ranging needs of our district, identify those areas in need of attention and improvement, and conceive of concrete solutions and action steps to achieve our stated goals. I have been a volunteer in our schools, serving as President of the Jefferson PTO, member of the Parent Teacher Council, and on various school committees. In addition, I have extensive volunteer experience on the town-wide level. I was a Trustee and President of the Westfield Education Fund, a member of the Board of Directors of the Westfield Area Y, and previously was appointed to serve on the Westfield Planning Board. I am a founding Board member and officer of Liam’s Room, a Westfield-based non-profit organization aimed at improving pediatric palliative care. My parenting, professional and volunteer experiences have prepared me to serve as an effective member of our Board of Education.
Like any Westfield parent, I hope that my children and all students who graduate from the Westfield School district leave confident and prepared to tackle whatever academic roads or careers lie before them. More importantly, they should be good citizens who act with integrity and a sense of service. I want to continue to serve on the Board to further support our school district in this goal. I look forward to talking to members of our community about the issues they believe are critical to the success of our schools and garnering public support for my election.
Very truly yours,
Gretchan R. Ohlig