• Principal's Message Continued From The Home Page

    Beginning May 2, all YFS school counselors will be furloughed to 28 hours/week through December 2020. In addition, the YFS school counselors at Island Park Elementary and West Mercer Elementary will be terminated effective May 15. However, YFS School Counselor, Laura Falsgraf (currently only at Northwood) will begin to also cover services to Island Park Elementary, and YFS School Counselor Julie Mattson (currently only at Lakeridge) will begin to also cover services to West Mercer Elementary. Note, at 28 hours/week, each elementary school will now be afforded 14/week of YFS counseling support services.

    YFS is coordinating with the school district to help make this difficult transition as smooth as possible. We recognize that with reductions, we will be eliminating some services while prioritizing others to best meet our goals of providing mental health and social-emotional support for students, families, faculty, and the learning environment.

    All YFS school counselors will be working to shape their services to best meet the needs of their respective school communities while continuing to work remotely using telemental health and virtual platforms.

    A personal message from Anna Orton:
    Dear Parents and Caregivers, 
         The opportunity to get to know your children and be witness to their growth these past four years has been a blessing beyond words. Thank you for the trust you put in me in allowing me to support those little beings who are the dearest to you in the whole world. It has truly been a great honor. I am so very sorry not to be able to continue serving them at this time.

         The relationships I have established with your children and their wellbeing are paramount, and I want to assure you that I am actively working to identify ways to honor these connections and support your children leading up to the necessary ending of our time together. I will reach out individually to the families of those students I worked with on an ongoing basis and will prepare a message to the student body in the coming weeks in collaboration with school administration as a means of providing an opportunity for a "virtual" farewell to each child.  Please know that giving these children the best and healthiest "goodbye" possible will be my main focus. 

     Finishing Up our Current School Year:

    • Student Materials Pick Up—Friday, May 1st families had the opportunity to drive through West Mercer to collect materials that will be helpful for students' ongoing learning. Pick Up time was 9:00-12:00, it was great to see so many of you in our parking lot today! We now have fewer than 60 bags of student materials left. Information will go out soon for the families that could not make it Friday to offer one more opportunity to pick up student materials.
    • School Materials that you have at home (for example, library books) will not be collected until September. Please keep these safe at home and further information about the collection will come in August or September.
    • Remote Learning will continue through June 19th. Staff is working hard to produce interesting and effective instruction that focuses on the ESSENTIAL learning in each grade and content area. We know that we cannot provide the same quantity of instruction as in a usual year so we are focused on quality. The learning that is MOST important for students in that grade level.
    • Teachers are also engaging students interactively through a variety of ZoomPro meetings and providing regular feedback through Seesaw posts.

    Looking Ahead to Next School Year:

    • School will go on next year.
    • Students will advance to the next grade level.
    • Teachers will assess students and work to fill in any gaps in their learning that resulted from the remote learning this spring.
    • IMPORTANT—calling all incoming kindergarteners! Register ASAP so that we can allocate the correct number of teachers and so that you will be invited to our special virtual Spring into Kindergarten event on May 22nd!


    This is the time when we start to solidify our plans for the next school year. We are lucky that currently most of our staff have expressed an interest in returning to West Mercer. With that in mind, here is our current staff list for next year. Please keep in mind that this is not a guarantee…staff sometimes have opportunities come up that take them on a different path and away from West Mercer.


    Our anticipated classroom staff for School Year 20-21 will be:

    Grade Level

    Teacher Name


    Michele Frisch, Claire Phillips, Tara Johnson

    1st Grade

    Kelly Flaherty, Zen Morrison, Katie Gallagher, Lisa Thomas

    2nd Grade

    Karen Park, Miriam Eve, Carole Morrison, TBD

    3rd Grade

    Leslie Scheurich, Lindzie Adamson, Saumya Santosh

    4th Grade

    Denise DiPrima, Sherry Isaacs, Rochelle Robinson

    5th Grade

    Chris Cocklin Ray, Julie Langley, Carly Adams

    Highly Capable

    3—Maria Wiemann, 4—David Baxter, 5—Kirsten Bourke


    PE—Casey Alin, Music—Clara Kurtenbach, Spanish—Melissa Hersey, Library—Tanya Sylvester, Art—Tracy Richardson, Overload Specialist—Crystal Taitague

    Support and Special Education

    Learning Support—Kay Walker, ELL—Erin Wilson-Tan, PALS—Joanna Berg, Resource Room—Nancy Murray, Psychologist—Simone Carmel

    Instructional Support

    Coach—Katy Gibson


    We are very close to having enough enrollment to hire a couple more teachers—please encourage neighbors who plan to be at West Mercer next year (especially kindergarteners) to register now!!

    Dates of Note for May:

    • May 4-May 8: virtual Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week
    • May 11: virtual PTSA Membership Meeting, 10 AM
    • May 22: virtual Spring into Kindergarten (invitation only-for enrolled students/families)
    • May 22: School in Session (Weather Make-Up for January snowstorm)
    • May 27: Memorial Day (NO SCHOOL)
    • May 29: virtual PAC (Parent Advisory Council), 9:30 AM

    On a personal and positive note, I welcomed my very first grandchild on March 5th. Ellie James Best is a healthy and happy little girl. She is a reminder to me, and I hope to you, that in the midst of this pandemic and health scare, life goes on. Good and amazing things continue to happen each day. I hope you too are experiencing some goodness in your lives!

    Wolf Pack strong!


    Carol Best                                                           Melanie Ready
    Principal                                                             Associate Principal
    West Mercer Elementary                                 West Mercer Elementary & Northwood Elementary