Graphic showing two photos with 2022 Optimist Club Award recipients

June 6, 2022 - 

Edison Intermediate School gifted education teacher Esther Van Riper and Roosevelt Intermediate School mathematics teacher Christine Heisler have been recognized as outstanding intermediate school educators by the Optimist Club of Westfield.   

The Optimist Club, a not-for-profit service organization that supports youth and the community, presents an award annually to two Westfield intermediate school educators - one each from Edison and Roosevelt.  

“The Intermediate School Outstanding Teacher Award was established in 1998 by the Optimist Club to give deserving credit to our intermediate school teachers who are dedicated to providing an educationally stimulating and supporting environment during this critical stage of adolescence,” says Superintendent Dr. Raymond González.  “On behalf of the Board of Education and our entire school community, I congratulate Mrs. Heisler and Mrs. Van Riper on this important recognition.”

Heisler and Van Riper will be honored at the Board of Education meeting on June 14 and at an Optimist Club dinner in September. 

Letters of nomination express appreciation to Heisler for her kindness, dedication, and positive attitude as a teacher who “makes math fun and understandable for her students” and who “makes herself available for her students before and after school.”  

Van Riper is lauded as a teacher who “genuinely cares about her students as if they were her own children.”  Nominators praise her “extraordinary classroom environment” where “when introducing new or more complicated topics, she explains it in a way that is easy to understand.”

The selection committee consisted of Optimist Club members, along with Dr. González, Edison principal Dr. Matthew Bolton, Roosevelt principal Brian Gechtman, and previous award recipients.