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  • Writer's pictureErin Madigan White

Weston Wednesday: Meet Watchung Gym Teacher Eric Weintraub

This is the latest in our “Weston Wednesday” series, spotlighting the winners of the 2024 Judy Weston Awards for Inspired Teaching. Follow along each week to learn more about the impact these educators are making in the Montclair Public Schools. 

There are hundreds of students at Watchung Elementary School, and Eric Weintraub knows all of them. If you pull into the car line some morning, you’ll likely hear him greeting each child by name, making them feel seen, welcoming them to school, and perhaps even playing some fun music to start their day off right. 

Mr. Weintraub is known to many as “Coach,” but he is also commonly referred to as “the heart of Watchung.” As the gym teacher for more than 20 years, he is a Watchung institution, a familiar and friendly face, and, as one parent wrote, “a bright, warm, engaging presence that pulls in and embraces each student at Watchung from K through 5th grade.” 

Nominators said Coach Weintraub helps students become comfortable with themselves, embrace their own strengths, work together in teams, compete with fun, and embrace their inner athletes and strengths.

One parent said: “My kids ADORE Coach, and the day they get to go to gym is always their favorite. They say about him, ‘He's strict... but he's COOL. I mean, he is strict... but he is so cool.’  Running a gym class with 20-plus 5- to 11-year-olds is a serious business, and Coach makes sure everyone is engaged and exercising their minds and bodies, but also safe, in control, and participating in a positive way to ensure all abilities are embraced and celebrated.” 

Those who nominated Coach Weintraub said that he acknowledges and empowers students. He makes physical education fun, helps kids feel like stars, and he brightens the school community with humor, leadership and spirit. For these reasons, he is an inspired teacher.

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