When starts its new year September 6, it will do so under the guidance of new Principal Dr. Matthew Certo.
Certo, a Glen Rock native, comes to Westwood after serving as the assistant principal of Ramsey High School for the past nine years. He also served as the assistant principal at St. Joseph's High School in West New York, N.J. for five years and previously taught in New York City public schools and the Archdiocese of New York. Certo holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and master's in elementary education from Fordham and a doctorate from the Teachers College at Columbia University.
The Westwood Regional Board of Education during their May meeting after former Westwood High principal to .
"I want to give my teachers the best tools possible so they can do their job and help the students in this school," Certo said.
This summer has been busy for Certo, who has been meeting with adminstrators, teachers, students and parents as well as overseeing upgrades to the school, including a new floor and locker rooms for the lower gym.
Certo said he is happy to be working at Westwood because of the community and the school's reputation.
"This is really exciting for me because, obviously it's my first principal job, but it's also looking at what this district is. What I read, what I see and what I hear from people are awesome things about this district," Certo said.
Certo said he has a lot of ideas for the school and likes to lead by example, but he is also happpy to cooperate with others and considers it important to treat all of the school's teachers and staff with equal respect.
As a new member of the district, Certo said he still needs to figure out exactly how he can best help his teachers and students but is eager to provide the tools needed for them to succeed.
"The goal, as far as I'm concerned, is helping my students prepare for the next phase in their life and helping my teachers make connections with kids and be effective," Certo said.
While Certo is excited for his new role in Westwood, he retains a fondness for Ramsey. Among the photos of his three children in his office, he also keeps two paintings— one from a Ramsey art teacher and one from a former student. He said he looks forward to developing relationships with this community.
"I'm going to embrace the parents and the community members," Certo said. "I'm here for them. Whether it's an idea or question, they can email me or call me."
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