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Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

From Blue Devil to Raider: We say farewell to Dr. Hynes as he crosses rival lines

Photo courtesy of Dr. Warren Hynes
Dr. Warren Hynes as Hi’s Eye’s adviser

In the fall of 2004, a young Dr. Warren Hynes entered the halls of WHS for the first time, marking the beginning of a 20-year career where he would prove to be an extraordinary teacher, newspaper adviser, assistant principal and leader. Now, Dr. Hynes will be taking on a new role as principal of WHS’ rival, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. Before we say goodbye, let’s look back on Dr. Hynes’s evolution as a teacher and administrator in Westfield.

Dr. Hynes grew up in Staten Island, NY, and attended University of North Carolina for his undergraduate education where he majored in journalism. After graduating, Dr. Hynes returned to New York to write a column for the Staten Island Advance. Dr. Hynes aspired to one day write for Sports Illustrated or the New York Times, but when he began to work with teenagers in afterschool programs at a local middle school and his church, he could not deny his newfound passion. When he was 28 years old, Dr. Hynes decided he wanted to be a teacher.

Through a fast-track teaching program called Alternate Route, Dr. Hynes received specialized training meant for those seeking to switch into teaching from a different career. After receiving his license, he became an English and journalism teacher and taught for five years at various schools in Massachusetts. It was also during this time that he earned his masters degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Then came WHS. Dr. Hynes and his wife decided to move closer to family as they began to start their own family, and here he worked as an English and journalism teacher for the first 14 years of his teaching career. He moved throughout the English department and taught all grades and levels aside from sophomores, all while taking on several extracurricular commitments, such as the Drama Club, Community Service Club and the Transition Program. Dr. Hynes was even the adviser of Hi’s Eye.

Dr. Hynes said favorite and most fulfilling aspect of teaching was when he was able to “help students use the curriculum as both a window and mirror. They’re able to look at that curriculum and understand the world better, and they’re able to look at that curriculum and understand themselves better.”

Whether he was handing out Hamlet assignments or enjoying the “flow” of the journalism room while brainstorming ideas for new issues, Dr. Hynes looks back on this era of teaching fondly. However, after gaining his administrative certification from Montclair State University in 2017, he accepted an opportunity to serve as assistant principal when the position opened.

“Early on in our careers, a lot of time we’re always thinking about what’s next, and that’s natural, but sometimes in order to understand what’s next, it’s really important to figure out what’s now,” Dr. Hynes said. For years, teaching was his “now.” Yet, as he continued on with his career, he realized that was changing. He said, “I kept getting asked to take on leadership roles within the school and I noticed that I didn’t mind that at all. I reached the point where I was ready to broaden my definition of the classroom to something that wasn’t just a room, but the whole building, and I was ready for that to become how I thought of myself as an educator.”

While the shift to assistant principal meant that he could not continue with some of the extracurricular activities that he had before, Dr. Hynes took up new responsibilities, and for the past five years, he has placed extra emphasis on providing a more welcoming environment for the entire school community at WHS through his work with the No Place For Hate Committee.

In 2019, Dr. Hynes spearheaded WHS’ NPFH certification through the Anti-Defamation League with Co-Advisor and Social Studies Teacher Kimberly Leegan.

Furthermore, in recent years, he has overseen the organization of NPFH and WHS’ activity periods. Principal Mary Asfendis said, “His leadership in NPFH and the activity periods has given students and staff the opportunity to tackle challenging topics, promote inclusivity, enhance school spirit and create a strong school community.”

Dr. Hynes’s leadership and unwavering drive are evident to the WHS community, especially his love for student engagement and participation.

Leegan said, “There are so many times when students have ideas and we work really hard to make them happen. But [Dr. Hynes] does so much more work than the work you can see; behind the scenes he is making sure that those events happen and that they’re really successful.” Leegan also pointed out that “Dr. Hynes loves the opportunity to give students the ability to see an idea go from beginning to end.”

Dr. Hynes’s exceptional commitment to the students and their abilities has inspired many students inside and outside of the classroom. NPFH committee member Olivia Berger has worked closely over the years with Dr. Hynes in planning NPFH events. “Seeing Dr. Hynes’s work in NPFH inspired me to want to take my own initiatives in NPFH. I would not be as involved in this community if it weren’t for Dr. Hynes,” Berger said. “Things will be very different next year, but his impact on the school has been so substantial that it will live on for years to come.”

Dr. Hynes has played a pivotal role in the school community over the last 20 years and has truly shaped the spirit of WHS. Asfendis said, “He is a true educational leader who gets deeply involved in his responsibilities and has promoted significant program improvements in the practical arts and departments that he supervises.”

The WHS community will deeply miss Dr. Hynes, but we know he will bring his care and professionalism to his new role.

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