The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

WA welcomes its newest Ghost, Dean Amanda Welch

Kate Kelly
Dean Amanda Welch smiles for a photo, seated in her newly decorated office.

In the span of a summer, the Westford Academy Ghosts said both goodbye to beloved faces and welcomed some back. As Dean Dan Twomey is now named principal in the retirement of Jim Antonelli, an empty office is left in the guidance wing. The Ghosts now extend their welcome to a new face, Amanda Welch, as a dean.

Welch’s new job entails working with the two other deans, Betsy Murphy and Robert Ware, to coordinate student activity, safety, and organization in the building. Specifically, she is in charge of scheduling, advisory, and supporting the class of 2026 until graduation. There are a variety of tasks that each dean takes charge of, but they communicate together to provide the best experience for students and staff alike. 

“[WA] is so special, and I think the community and the culture here is really focused. [Students are] very polite and they seem to be very focused on academics,” Welch said. “It’s not like that everywhere else. I just love it here. It is really a team effort.”

While Welch finds herself in a new position, she has no lack of experience when it comes to the classroom environment. Her teaching career started at Raymond High School, where she was a title one reading specialist for two years, working with grades seven and eight. 

She then moved her work to the Nashua district, splitting a twelve-year period between Fairgrounds Middle School and Nashua High School South. 

Kelli Thornhill-Telerski, English teacher at Nashua South, was introduced to Welch three years ago as she accepted the job, becoming her colleague. Welch helped Thornhill-Telerski get acquainted with the school, even meeting at the beginning of the year to go over curriculum ideas. Despite now working in separate school systems, the two continue to stay in touch. 

“Collaborative, kind, and dedicated are words I would use to describe Ms. Welch. She works well with others and truly cares about those around her,” Thornhill-Telerski said. “She is also dedicated to helping her students and colleagues in any way she can.”

Welch continued her work with grades seven and eight at the middle school level, but spent her time at the high school teaching English to primarily ninth and twelfth grade students. 

“As an English teacher, my primary job was to teach reading skills, writing skills, and communication skills. I think that communication skills are something I’m going to carry into this job,” Welch said. “Being able to make sure that everybody in the building feels safe and welcome, and if there is an issue, being that person who is open and welcoming to listen to them.”

Additionally, during her last year in Nashua, Welch became an Instructional Leader. This administrative role required her to oversee and evaluate a staff of 140 members. 

Thornhill-Telerski is not the only person to recognize Welch’s positivity. In fact, a WA staff member recalls a time when she was a part of the school community. Not only does the new dean enjoy playing softball in her free time, but she also was the assistant coach alongside business and DECA teacher, Gina Mustoe. 

“[Welch] is super positive. She is always smiling. When we were close to a tournament and it was nearing June, [the team] was starting to get hot and the season was narrowing in,” Mustoe said. “And she always brought a positive energy that got them back on task.” 

While she holds a vocalized passion for her job, Welch initially saw the benefits of working with kids firsthand from her mother, who was a one-on-one paraeducator. Yet it wasn’t officially until the seventh grade that she knew she wanted to be a teacher. 

“I read a book called The Giver, and I loved that book. It was the first time I was really interested in a book more than just ‘I have to read this,’” Welch said. “I loved it and I loved the way my teacher taught it. And that’s when I knew I wanted to be an English teacher.”

Accompanying her love for working in schools and reflecting on these experiences with staff, Welch finds another motivator for her job.

“As a young child, I never saw a lot of kids who looked like me in leadership roles. It was a lot different back then,” Welch said. “There weren’t as many females and there were certainly no women of Asian descent. And so I was like, if I go into this, maybe some kids could see a little bit of themselves reflected in me.”

Welch, like many others living in the district, received an email detailing Antonelli’s retirement. It wasn’t until a friend had told her to apply to Twomey’s old posted position that she had even considered the opportunity. Leaving Nashua South was not something she considered often, but Westford came as an exception. 

“I almost didn’t apply. I only had one year of experience under my belt as a leader and I didn’t really know what Westford was looking for,” Welch said, “But they really wanted someone with a teaching background which I definitely had. […] And then I was so happy that I was called in for an interview and then offered the job.”

Welch joined the WA staff by mid-August and has been working ever since to establish connections with as many people as she can. The deans also debate on utilizing social media in the future, connecting with stakeholders in the community. She reflects on the kindness she’s received so far as well as the community that is WA. 

“I can’t express how wonderful I think the student body is here,” Welch said. “I have only been here for a couple of weeks but it is a very respectful community and it seems like you are all very interested and invested in the school, which is important.”

To hear more about Dean Welch as well as some fun facts, check out the 23 Questions video linked below.

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About the Contributor
Kate Kelly
Kate Kelly, Features Editor
Hi, my name is Kate Kelly and I’m a sophomore writing as a Features editor for the Ghostwriter. This is my second consecutive year on the staff and I'm excited for more to come! I also enjoy listening to music, playing soccer, and biking.

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