21st Century Skills in our Schools
Honor Exceptional Ridgefield Outstanding Educators – HERO Awards
This is your chance to say “Thank You” to our exceptional Teachers and Administrators that make RPS one of the top schools not only in the state, but also in the nation according to US News. Your thank you not only recognizes your favorite RPS employee, but also promotes RPS’s advanced teaching techniques.
Ms. Whelan is a teacher who has taught in the Ridgefield Public Schools since 1986. She currently teaches Kindergarten at Barlow Mountain Elementary School. In previous years she has taught first, second and third grades and she has served as a Literacy Coach for grades K – 5. She has attended Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Summer Institutes at Columbia University and has been a member of the National Charity League since 2004 where she has held several board positions. In addition to her commitment to the Ridgefield Education Foundation she devotes time to Safe Horizon in New York City and supports women and men who are victims of domestic violence. Ms. Whelan is a long time residents of Ridgefield and both of her children attended the Ridgefield Public Schools.
Beth Yavenditti has worked in education for almost 20 years. She is Director of Global Education at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, CT and currently teaches Global Studies courses and coaches the High School debate team and has taught French (MS and HS level), coached MS sports, and served on a variety of committees. As Director of Global Education, she is a member of the Center for Leadership team and works to further its mission of helping students acquire a global perspective, a service orientation, and leadership skills. She oversees all aspects of global education from curriculum development to program design and delivery. She lives in Ridgefield with her husband and two children.
Heather Neumann Salaga has a 14+ year background in corporate human resources, most recently at PepsiCo. In 2015 Heather made a career change and is now a Realtor and partner of The Chip Neumann Team at Neumann Real Estate as well as local business owner. Heather and her husband, Robert own the Tutoring Club in Ridgefield and Stamford. In addition, Heather leads monthly workshops at TBICO in Danbury, an educational and employment resource center for individuals reentering the workforce. She grew up in Ridgefield, and experienced the outstanding RPS system going on to graduate from Boston University Questrom School of Business where she also was a teaching fellow. Heather leads monthly workshops at TBICO in Danbury, an educational and employment resource center for individuals reentering the workforce. Heather lives in Ridgefield with her husband and daughter.
Ms. Coleman is an Interior Designer and owner of JKC Designs, a full service interior design firm established in 2007. She works in both residential & commercial design, locally in Ridgefield as well as NYC and at Colleges & Universities around the country. Her work has been featured in several national publications including House Beautiful & Entrepreneur Magazine. Jennifer lives in the West Mountain Estates neighborhood of Ridgefield with her husband, Greg, and their 2 children.
Mr. Osborn is the founder of a financial services company focused on sustainable investing. Providing financial planning, investment management and alternative investments, his company invests in companies that have high sustainability mandates that are often referenced as companies that utilize environmental and social aspects to its governance. Prior to founding his company, he was a Director, and founding member, of a clean energy focused private equity fund. In this role he was responsible for originating and executing on new investment opportunities and was often engaged as a panelist or speaker at various clean energy related conferences. Prior to joining the fund, he worked as an investment banker focused on the energy and clean energy sector, and social infrastructure. Mr. Osborn began his career as an environmental engineering consultant. Mr. Osborn is the Secretary of the Ridgefield Education Foundation (“REF”). In this capacity he is engaged in organizational planning and records. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Woodcock Nature Center, located on the Ridgefield/Wilton border. He resides in Ridgefield with his wife and his two kids.
Pam is a local attorney with a general practice representing both business and individual clients in transactional, corporate, contract, commercial and real estate matters including publicly traded and large privately held companies. Ms. Banks worked for Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. for close to 15 years and was its Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. She has been practicing since 1992. Ms. Banks joined the Ridgefield Education Foundation in 2015 and on January 1, 2015 assumed the role of its President, succeeding its founding member and President, Avery Costigan. Ms. Banks is active in the community and is a member of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, the Advisory Counsel and is a Girl Scout Leader. She resides in Ridgefield with her husband, a Registered US Patent Agent and her daughter.
When asked why do you want to be a part of Ridgefield Education Foundation she replied, “I think it is important to give back to and support our community. One of the most, if not the most, valuable asset that Ridgefield has is our children. Ensuring that they are given every opportunity to succeed is vital. The Ridgefield Education Foundation fills such a critically important role in providing funding, that would not otherwise be available, for special projects and innovative programs that enhance the educational experience of our children.”