Retiring teachers, staff for 2021 bid farewell

West Essex pays tribute to the faculty and staff who’ve announced their retirements this year.


File photo

West Essex High School will be closed from March 16 to March 27 until further notice due to fears over the coronavirus.

John Atura

Drawing & Composition; Studio Art – 18 years in district

John Atura has been at West Essex for 18 years. In his time, he has taught Drawing and Composition and Studio Art. In the classroom, Atura shows his students how to step outside of their comfort zones, whether it is by working on projects of bigger scales, drawing unfamiliar subjects, or thinking about art in new ways while providing a unique, challenging experience for each aspiring artist. As a person, Atura is loved by all of his students and keeps class interesting and stimulating. His legacy will last long beyond his retirement through the success and achievements of his students, who will forever be better artists and people thanks to his teaching.


Neil Carrozza

Italian and Spanish – 31 years in district

Neil Carrozza is an admired teacher at West Essex. He consistently finds new methods to teach the World Language material in a fun and interesting way. Carrozza has made many student’s experiences in West Essex Middle school much better with his welcoming and positive attitude. His dedication to his work is inspiring, and his presence will be greatly missed.


Teresa Carr

Special Services, Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant – 16 years in district

As part of the West Essex High School Child Study Team, Teresa Carr is a diligent professional who always puts her students first. Carr conducts educational evaluations and has case management responsibilities. She works closely with her students and their families to ensure they receive the support they need which makes her a great asset to West Essex.


Lauren Cherny

Guidance (high school)

Lauren Cherny always brings a smile and optimism to any student she councils. She is reflects her dedication to her students through her check-ins throughout each marking period, her effort to schedule help and follow up meetings, and her notable care for mental health. Cherny plays a pivotal role in helping kids choose their future paths and education which goes to show the positive impact she leaves on West Essex.


Denise D’Meo

Chemistry (AP, Honors & CPA, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry) – 13 years in district

Something you may not know about Dr. D’Meo is that she was actually a dentist before finding her home at West Essex, and we are very lucky that she did! The unique thing about Dr. D’Meo is that her passion for teaching shines through her lessons. It is evident that she genuinely cares about her students and loves her job, telltale by the way she is always available to help them and find ways to accommodate their busy lives.


Janice Emering

Personal Finance; Introduction to Business – 39 years in district

Janice Emering is a friendly face to everyone here at West Essex. She helps prepare students financially and supports them with any type of assistance they need. Mrs. Emering is a friend just as much as she is a teacher. She loves to share her stories and humor with her students to make her classroom an enjoyable and welcoming environment. Thanks to Emering, students at West Essex have bright futures ahead of them.


Stephanie Graham

Reading (Middle school) – 18 years in district

Stephanie Graham is a very enthusiastic teacher who genuinely loved being here at West Essex. She always liked to try out new things. Graham has a great outlook on everything. She is always eager to learn more every day and truly values her time here at West Essex.


Kelly LaRiccia

Guidance administrator (high school) – 29 years in district

Kelly LaRiccia has served as a guidance admin and secretary for nearly 30 years, helping to organize events and advise students as they mature in high school. LaRiccia has played an important and consistent role in helping aspiring students achieve their future goals, whether it be through helping to build a transcript, searching for colleges, or easing the scholarship process. She is extremely organized, welcoming, and a calm friend to turn to in a tricky situation. Thanks to LaRiccia, West Essex students have a bright future ahead of them and are on a path to success.


Denise Logan

Nurse (Middle school) – 13 years in district

Denise Logan is a nurse that the students know they can count on. She is always a reliable person and takes good care of the West Essex student body. Logan has provided for West Essex students for many years, and they appreciate how safe she has made us all feel. The efforts she has made for the students are outstanding, especially through a pandemic. Logan is truly a hero here at West Essex.


Patricia McCarthy

Social Studies – 18 years in district

Patricia McCarthy makes U.S. History more interesting than ever before. She takes her work seriously and ensures that students work up to their full potential. In class, she shows students educational videos and specifically loves to spend time learning about the Declaration of Independence. McCarthy gave students many meaningful middle school memories that will never be forgotten.


Lisa Rubell

Special Services in English & Science – 28 years in district

Lisa Rubell is a very dedicated teacher here at West Essex. She always looks to thoroughly explain directions, as well as provide various different resources for her students. Furthermore, Rubell always looks to further explore the possibilities not only in school, but in life. She learns through herself, as well as her students.