A tribute to Westfield’s Superintendent


Photo courtesy of Dr. Dolan

Westfield Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan

After 25 years of service to the Westfield School District, Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan is set to officially retire on July 1. 

After starting as a principal at Franklin Elementary School in 1996, Dolan became Assistant Superintendent and finally District Superintendent in 2007, being the first female superintendent in Westfield’s history. Dolan’s tenure has left enduring improvements that have strengthened Westfield’s school district for the better.

 During her role as superintendent, Dolan made upgrades to the security equipment and protocols, transitioned to a standards-based report card, made efforts for more energy conservation and introduced technologies like Chromebooks and iPads in the classroom.

Dolan also made sure that students received the best education possible. “We have constantly been upgrading our curriculum in all the academic areas,” she said. Most significant has been the integration of STEM programs which Dolan believes is “part of the future.”

“I want to leverage technology. I knew we needed to do better with technology,” she said about her tech initiative. In 14 years, Dolan has made sure that every school has campus WiFi, in addition to modernizing security systems and incorporating a greater technological presence.

“The world hasn’t stayed the same while [our students have been] growing up, so I’m quite pleased that we have constantly been upgrading.” Teachers and administrators have particularly benefited from this embrace of technology during the recent pandemic, swiftly transitioning from in-person to hybrid instruction. Her initiative has made Westfield Public Schools much more progressive than it was two decades ago.

Although the pandemic has impacted all parts of the community, it was especially difficult for the school districts. “Everything has changed,” said Dolan. “It changed not just for superintendents or principals or teachers, it also changed for students and parents.” 

With approximately 6,000 students and 900 staff members, Dolan was the head of a very large ship navigating uncharted waters. Only once in a century does a global pandemic happen, and, throughout the year, she juggled numerous decisions: whether to implement quarantine, deciding on two-day or four-day hybrid schedules and how many students could come back at a time. “So in that respect, the entire year has been challenging,” Dolan noted, but she is “very proud of how everybody has been adapting.”

WHS Principal Mary Asfendis has worked with Dolan for the past nine years as a school administrator. She described Dolan as a “kind, caring educator who always has what is best for students on the forefront of her mind when making decisions.” 

Retirement is going to be a big change for Dolan, given that she was so involved with the students and all aspects of the district. The onset of the pandemic has made it challenging for her to watch students grow and develop. “I used to like going to the concerts, plays, sporting events and assemblies,” said Dolan. 

Dolan hopes that with her new free time, she will be able to spend well-deserved and much-desired time with family and friends. Fully vaccinated, Dolan and her husband expect to have a very eventful summer of visiting family and friends. 

While Westfield welcomes a new superintendent on Aug. 1, the successes of the Westfield School District are a direct result of Dolan’s exemplary leadership.