A long over due collection of tribute pages to the individuals who accepted the challenge of educating us.
Ms. Medha Kirtane
RIDGEWOOD, NJ — The state’s best history teacher hails from Ridgewood High School. Medha Kirtane was named the 2021 New Jersey History Teacher of the Year after a record 8,510 educators were nominated for the award.
Presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the award “highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary school through high school.”
Kirtane has been working at Ridgewood High School for the last 15 years. An alumna of Ridgewood Public Schools herself, Kirtane earned her undergraduate degree from Williams College, where she later served as the assistant director of the Multicultural Center, and then earned her graduate degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
As a member of the Ridgewood High School Social Studies Department, she has taught a variety of courses including U.S. history, senior seminar and law. She was the head coach of the girls tennis program, is the advisor to the Asian Festival, and serves as one of the faculty representatives to the Home and School Association.
“It is an honor to be part of the Gilder Lehrman family of educators seeking to better ourselves and our craft in order to provide students with the opportunity to grow as historians and citizens of this world,” said Kirtane.
“The organization provides so many resources for practical and scholarly growth, and I have been humbled to even be considered for such an award. I love learning alongside my students and from both them and my colleagues, so this award is a testament to the Social Studies department and my students as well. Ridgewood has always allowed me to be a student of history and pedagogy, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium, but will also benefit the high school. Ridgewood will now receive a “core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials.”
Teachers are selected for the award after nominations come in from parents, students, administrators and teachers. After winning the state award, Kirtane is now in the running for the National History Teacher of the Year award.
The 10 finalists for the national award will be announced on Sept. 9, and the winner will be announced in late September. Courtesy of Ridgewood-Glen Rock Patch
Richard Flechtner Richard Bennett Roger Sweeney Tony Napier
Jack Van Yperen Chuck Johnson Charles Bookstaver
Deans Of Girls
Dr. Lois B. Knox (1919-1954) Wilma J. McVeigh (1954-
Alan Bennett Larry Coyle Amy Emmers Loren Leek Stuart Postle
Kitty Batterson Jacob Brown Debbie Paul Jeff Yearing
“Uncle” Harry Ahearn Laura Fleming Charlotte McCane Milo Okema Medha Kirtane Harold Vaughan
Faith Colton Arthur Deeks Helen Towle
Donald E. Bowler George Murphy Arthur Rispoli
C. Betram Harmon John Lochner Robert Whittemore
Principals & Assistant Principals
John McCutcheon George Egli Frank S. Foley William C. Leach
Irwin B. Somerville George Neville John Archibald Basil Pizzuto