February 2022 Employee of Students of the Month

On Feb. 8, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the February 2022 Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting. Congratulations to all of this month’s honorees!

Early Learning Center – Sophia Sparland 

Sophia started this year at the Early Learning Center as a pre-kindergartener. As with many students, Sophia was learning new expectations and her encounters were sometimes challenging to adapt to having been away from a school setting during COVID. True to her authentic self, Sophia persisted and has truly blossomed. Sophia has progressed very well over the last couple of months, showing kindness towards her peers, following directions and daily routine, participating and engaging in our activities, and setting an example for others. She loves to help with the calendar at community circle time and counting each new day, and she loves music and singing. Sophia is excited about coming to school and can't wait to get inside to see her teachers and friends. We are so proud of Sophia's resilience and persistence, even when it isn't easy. 

South Ridge Elementary School – Penelope La Marr, 2nd Grade

Penelope La Marr has consistently demonstrated empathy, resiliency and kindness in the classroom. She has a unique ability to connect with others and is a natural leader. Every day, Penelope comes to school with a positive attitude and shows care and concern for her peers, teachers, and school environment. We have witnessed Penelope overcome several obstacles and become an avid reader, curious scientist and skillful mathematician this year. Her academic growth can be attributed to her relentless ambition when given a challenge. Penelope inspires us to think about situations in a unique way and reminds us every day why we became educators. Penelope La Marr is a valuable asset to our school community, and we love watching her refine her collaborative skills. 

Union Ridge Elementary School – Lucy Meade, 1st Grade 

Lucy Meade exemplifies the 3 R’s by being respectful, responsible, and resilient. Lucy is respectful to all students and adults. She shows respect to her teachers by being a great listener in class, paying attention, and following directions. Lucy will work with any student in the classroom and never complains. She is also a great helper to other students and is very kind to others. She is very responsible, arriving at class with all her materials and ready to work. She finishes her assignments on time, and does her best work. Lucy is a hard worker, and even when something is difficult, she does not give up. She is very resilient. Lucy has an excitement for learning and a positive attitude. 

Sunset Ridge Intermediate School – Adair Garcia, 6th Grade

Adair consistently shows all aspects of Respect, Responsibility, and Resilience each and every day that he's at school. Adair is one of our hardest working students at Sunset Ridge. He is actively engaged in all of his classes. He works well with his classmates, completes all of his assignments, and volunteers to read and answer questions during classroom discussions. One of Adair's strongest qualities is what a strong advocate he is for his own learning. When Adair has a question, he asks it. That's huge at this grade level. He always makes sure he's on the right track and understands both the content and the directions. Adair always wants to do his best. When we took the Winter iReady diagnostic, Adair worked so hard and his results reflected his efforts. We couldn't be more proud of Adair and the growth he has made this year. Adair is a friend to everyone. He is very social and has a lot of fun with his friends, but then when it's time for instruction and work, he is responsible and turns his full focus to his academics. As an all-around amazing, hardworking, focused student, we are proud of Adair Garcia for being the February Student of the Month for Sunset Ridge.

Wisdom Ridge AcademyJohnathon Nove, 7th Grade 

Johnathon Nove is a true example of an engaged and dedicated Wisdom Ridge Academy student. Not only has he managed to stay completely up-to-date with all his classes, he even finished three courses early and chose to start new classes to continue his learning. Johnathon got all the way through a challenging elective on JavaScript programming and is continuing to push his learning during enrichment by working on building a robot kit. In these enrichment sessions, he has become a great friend to so many others who rely on him for his caring attitude, problem solving, and sense of humor. We applaud all of Jonathan's efforts and dedication, and look forward to seeing what this young man can do at Wisdom Ridge Academy and beyond.

View Ridge Middle School – Behla James, 8th Grade 

One of the first things you notice when meeting Behla is her smile! It is the first indication of her positivity and kindness to all students and staff. Her caring is shown as she seeks out students to include, and is eager to help others. In class, she is a pleasure to teach! Behla comes to class every day, prepared to learn and engage in what we are doing. Behla works hard, collaborates well with others, and contributes to class discussions in an insightful manner. She also asks perceptive questions and gives thoughtful responses that support her learning as well as that of her classmates. Behla is a pillar in the classroom, adding energy and enthusiasm to each of her classes, contributing to the positive culture of the school. Her teachers said that Behla “goes above and beyond to learn as much French as she can, and is eager to help others to be the best that they can be.” “Behla is an example of what a Heron should aspire to be.” “She leads by example and adds an element of fun to the classroom.” “She is unafraid to ask difficult questions and to challenge dogmatic answers, Behla embodies the spirit of resilient inquiry we value most at View Ridge.” 

Ridgefield High School – Dillon Kirksey, 11th Grade

Dillon Kirksey is involved in ASB Leadership as the Technology Commissioner. He is also involved in the National Honor Society, is the DECA Club President, and plays baseball and basketball for the Spudders (and is very proud of the basketball team's great accomplishments this season!). In addition, Dillon volunteers with the Ridgefield Lions Club. Dillon challenges himself academically and will be taking AP Government next school year while maintaining a 3.9 GPA. Dillon says his greatest accomplishment over adversity has been when he and his mother moved around throughout California when he was younger before finally settling in Ridgefield in fifth grade, and his greatest achievement is getting nominated and selected as the RHS Student of the Month. Dillon takes pride in presenting himself in a respectful way to all of his teachers and he is thankful that the work he has done developing his character is seen by the RHS staff. His nominating teacher said "Dillon is looking out for others. If all students were like Dillon, I'd teach for free!" After high school, Dillon hopes to play collegiate level baseball and study marketing and business, and hopes to open his own business one day. 

Employee of the Month – Deb Ortner

Since day one, Deb has continued to step up to any and all challenges that have presented themselves, proving over and over that Ridgefield School District has a true rock star on their staff. In fact, she was tasked on her first official day with Ridgefield to lead Induction for all the other new employees in the district. Her response was an enthusiastic “absolutely!” Deb’s can-do attitude is phenomenal and infectious! She spends her days serving our staff and students and not a day goes by where she isn’t lifting people up and we are all better because of the work that she does. Deb's passion for kids and teachers is irrepressible. She sees what needs to be done and steps up to make it happen. She is a pillar of knowledge and support for the Ridgefield School District. She is dedicated to the growth and enrichment of every teacher and staff member, and works tirelessly to that end. Deb advocates for the educators of RSD through the National Board cohort, support of mentees and mentors, directing professional learning, and working alongside teachers in whatever fashion they need.  By strengthening the professional capacity of educators, she is uplifting the learning of all of our students. Whether it is working with teachers on their TPEP submissions, working to create another successful Induction and Convocation, or putting together professional development the entire district can use, Deb's presence in the Ridgefield School District leads to better teaching—which means better learning. She is also a stellar baker who makes the most delicious scones and jam!