Ridgefield Public Schools Announce 2021 Teacher of the Year!

During a surprise teacher appreciation breakfast, Ridgefield Public Schools announced that East Ridge Middle School band teacher Hilary Brown is the 2021 Teacher of the Year. Her ERMS colleagues gave her a standing ovation.

In East Ridge’s support of Ms. Brown for this honor, they wrote: “Hilary Brown is an enthusiastic, dedicated educator who frequently goes above and beyond for her students. As a band teacher, she has faced unprecedented challenges due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and has had to adapt, rethink, and reinvent her teaching approach. She has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of all of her students while strictly adhering to the newly established health and safety protocols for wind instruments and maintaining a well-organized, reflective and engaging classroom environment.”

East Ridge goes on to describe how Brown spent countless hours at home sewing homemade masks for her students so that they could play their instruments and stay safe when instrumental PPE was backordered. The school also relates how she implemented a new "bucket drumming" curriculum that was a huge hit with students.

Thoughtful, creative, inspiring, and hardworking are all descriptions that fit this extraordinary educator who is always on the lookout to encourage, support, and inspire her students. During her short, impromptu remarks, Ms. Brown said that it was RPS’s caring treatment of her son when he was in elementary school that drew her into teaching. She has worked at RPS since 2008.

Congratulations to all the RPS Teacher of the Year Winners! We are so grateful for you.
RHS - Margaret Meriwether, Health Teacher
SRMS - Andrew Clavi, Music Teacher
BMES - Valerie Nezvesky, Kindergarten Teacher
BES - Laurie Bellagamba, 3rd Grade Teacher
FES - Deanna Schappert, 1st Grade Teacher
RES - Sally Murray, Special Education Teacher
SES - James Tornatore, Music Teacher
VPES - Michele Flynn, 4th Grade Teacher


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