January 2024 employee and students of the month

On January 9, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the January 2024 Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting. Congratulations to all of this month’s honorees! 

Employee of the Month Kalin Heath, Human Resources at the District Office 

Kalin has a “can do” attitude and is always willing to take on new challenges. She is exceptional at handling sensitive employee situations with the empathy, confidentiality, and professionalism that the situation requires. This provides employees with confidence in her work and that their issue will be resolved. We witness this daily in her work, especially with leave-related issues. In addition to her excellent work ethic and professionalism, Kalin just completed her Master’s degree in Human Resources, maintaining straight A’s throughout the program! She did this while working full time and managing the busy extracurricular activities of her two young daughters. Kalin is a team player and is always willing to go above and beyond whether that is to set up for large district events like Convocation or working to make sure that every employee is celebrated. Kalin loves the Ridgefield community and supporting Ridgefield students and can often be found at community events decked out in her Ridgefield gear. Now it is our turn to celebrate Kalin and make sure she gets the recognition she deserves! Congratulations, Kalin! It is our honor to recognize you as the January Employee of the Month!

Henry Frasier, Pre-K at the Early Learning Center

Henry is a delightful and heartwarming young man. Always ready with a smile and a helping hand for his peers, this remarkable student exudes kindness that knows no bounds. His infectious sense of humor brightens up the room, bringing laughter and joy to both classmates and educators. Beyond the laughter, Henry displays a remarkable thoughtfulness, often surprising everyone with small acts of kindness and consideration. Whether it's sharing a toy or offering a comforting word, he consistently demonstrates a deep understanding of the importance of empathy in building positive relationships. In the world of preschool, Henry is not just a playful and funny companion but a thoughtful and caring friend who enriches our daily experiences with his genuine warmth and endearing personality.

Thomas Crumbaker, 1st Grade at Wisdom Ridge Academy

K-3 teacher Lauren Pinkleton said, “I’ve wanted to nominate Thomas for so long. He’s amazing.” And, now, WRA is proud to showcase the amazing Thomas Crumbaker as the WRA student of the month! Thomas is in first grade and was nominated by his teacher “because of the outstanding work ethic he applies in every single one of his courses! Thomas is making extraordinary progress in his grade-level skills and it is extremely exciting to see his talents shine through. Thomas is a kind and conscientious classmate who shows consideration and respectfulness towards his peers.” Thomas chose to come to WRA because he can work faster and he doesn’t have to wake up to go to school. He can set his own schedule and do school at home, which he says is his favorite part of going to an online school. Outside of school, Thomas enjoys going to football camp, learning how to ride his bike and how to swim, and going to kids’ church. When Thomas grows up he wants to be a pastor. 

Lane Salvagno, 1st grade at South Ridge Elementary School

Lane is a joy to have at South Ridge, and we have loved getting to know him for the past two years. His smile and positive attitude are contagious, and it makes us so happy to see how much he has grown since he started kindergarten here. He is a kind friend to all, and is always ready to share a smile, hug, or kind word with others. He has achieved so much success this year, and he has such a bright future! Thank you, Lane, for being a great example for what it means to be a South Ridge Roadrunner, we are all so proud of you! 

Georgia Pyle, 3rd Grade at Union Ridge Elementary School

Georgia’s outstanding academic performance and the kindness and compassion she shows towards her classmates are truly commendable. She goes above and beyond to help others and embodies the principles of the three Rs daily. Georgia is not only excelling academically but also contributing positively to the overall school community. She can be counted on to help anyone in need and is a wonderful representative of a Tater Tot with integrity. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition, Georgia!

Bobby Sander, 6th Grade at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School

Sunset Ridge para Kira Potter said that Bobby is a breath of fresh air in the classroom and is genuinely interested in learning. He is helpful to students and teachers, alike. Bobby is a friendly, well-liked student who adds a great deal of positive energy to Sunset Ridge. Whether it's in the classroom or out at recess, Bobby acts with a calm presence and serves as a positive example to his peers. He can be counted on for his kindness and is helpful to his peers and his teachers. He shows an eagerness to learn and share his ideas in science. His teachers add that Bobby consistently shows focus and effort in his learning, and helps other students be successful. He has a kind and gentle nature and a great sense of humor at all times. He is a hard worker and a joy to have in class.

Lucia Finley, 7th Grade at View Ridge Middle School

Jessalyn Hopmann, one of Lucia’s teachers since 5th grade was very excited to learn that Lucia received this honor.  Here is some of what she had to say: “Lucia is the perfect choice for student of the month. She has had the most remarkable journey over the last several years. When Lucia first started 5th grade, she was an extremely shy and super quiet child. She went months without saying a word and needed a lot of support and encouragement to complete her classwork. With the loving support of a dear friend and the teaching staff, Lucia found her voice and her gumption last school year. Some staff were worried about how Lucia would transition and her ability to keep up with the pace of 7th grade and the rigors of coursework. To our delight, Lucia has exceeded expectations and surprised us all. Lucia has risen to the occasion and proven herself to be a model student. She is hardworking and diligent about completing her assignments and meets almost every deadline.  Lucia is an inspiration to us all.”  Lucia’s 7th grade teachers all agree that she brings tremendous effort, excitement, and curiosity into her learning, is always kind and caring toward her peers, and Mrs. Fey says she is ‘fierce in her engagement in school’. Thank you, Lucia, for being a great model for your fellow students and such a joy to your teachers. Always keep your smile!  

Joon Luery, 12th grade at Ridgefield High School

Adversity, trauma, obstacles, sadness – these are words that are a part of Joon’s past but do not define her future. We challenge you to find another student who has overcome so much and yet remains such a positive, enthusiastic, and wonderful human being. Having attended four schools in four states in her high school career, Joon has really come into her own, authentic self at RHS and she credits the staff and her parents for their endless support. Joon mentioned Ms. Friesen and Ms. Joseph as influential teachers, and when asked who inspires her most, Joon mentioned her family, saying about her parents, “they are the most beautiful people I know.” One thing is for sure, Joon has made quite an impact in her short time on campus. As one teacher shared, “Joon is mindful, shows self-awareness, has a positive perspective, and a capacity to overcome adversity. Joon channels incredible strength and honesty in her writing, and inspires others to be brave and share their stories as well.” In her free time, Joon loves to write, make music, and hike. After graduation this spring, she hopes to become a performer. But most interesting is her plan for after retirement (many, many years from now): build a cabin next to a swamp and live with her pig and goats. Boundaries, kindness, trust, strength, optimism – these are the words that Joon embodies now.  She is gracious, wise beyond her years, and has an unwavering commitment to herself. When asked what this award meant to her, she didn’t miss a beat and said, “I’ve never felt more seen than I have at Ridgefield High School.” Joon, while you’ve had many joyous moments on our campus, we really are the lucky ones. On behalf of the entire staff, we are honored to have been part of your journey. Thank you for your deep love and zest for life. You are deserving of this award and so much more.