Ridgefield School District officials honor February employee and students of the month


The Ridgefield School Board recognized its February employee and students of the month at a meeting on Feb. 8.  

Deb Ortner, a teacher on special assignment for the district, was named employee of the month. A news release describes Ortner as a “true rock star” who was tasked with leading induction for all of the new employees in the district. “Deb’s passion for kids and teachers is irrepressible,” the release stated. “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.”

Sophia Sparland was selected as the student of the month for the Early Learning Center. As a pre-kindergartener, the release said Sparland has adapted and adjusted well to new COVID-19 expectations. “Sophia has progressed very well over the last couple of months, showing kindness toward her peers, following directions and daily routine, participating and engaging in our activities, and setting an example for others,” stated the release.

Penelope La Marr, a second grader, was named the student of the month at South Ridge Elementary School. The release stated La Marr has an unique ability to connect with others and is a natural leader. “We have witnessed Penelope overcome several obstacles and become an avid reader, curious scientist and skillful mathematician this year,” stated the release. “Her academic growth can be attributed to her relentless ambition when given a challenge.” La Marr also  consistently demonstrates empathy, resiliency and kindness in the classroom.

Lucy Meade, a first grader, was picked as the student of the month at Union Ridge Elementary School. Meade is described as a respectful student who listens, pays attention and follows directions from her teachers. She is said to be a hard worker who doesn’t give up when presented with a challenge. “​​Lucy has an excitement for learning and a positive attitude,” stated the release. 

Adair Garcia, a fifth grader, was selected as the student of the month at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School. The release stated Garcia is a “friend to everyone.” He is also known as responsible and is well-focused in his academics. “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.”

Johnathon Nove, a seventh grader, was named the student of the month at Wisdom Ridge Academy. The release stated Nove not only has stayed fully up to date with his classes, but finished three of his courses early to start new ones. When doing an elective class on Javascript programming, the release stated he became a great friend to his peers, as they rely on him for “his caring attitude, problem solving and sense of humor.”

Behla James, an eighth grader at View Ridge Middle School, was named the student of the month at View Ridge Middle School. The release describes James as a caring person who always seeks to help and include other students. Her teachers said she leads by example and “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.”

Dillon Kirksey, a junior, was named the student of the month at Ridgefield High School. According to the release, Kirksey has been a technology commissioner for the Athletic Student Body Leadership program. He is also involved in the National Honor Society, is the DECA Club president, a volunteer for the Ridgefield Lions Club, and plays baseball and basketball for the Spudders. Kirksey is respectful to his teachers, stated the release, and is grateful the development of his character has been noticed by the school’s staff.


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