Red Bank Regional (RBR) principal, Risa Clay, Tinton Falls, was recently
honored by the Business & Professional Women of New Jersey Foundation
(BPWNJ) with their 2012 Women of Achievement award. The celebration took place at The BPWNJ’s annual conference held at Brookdale College in May. Accolades were also bestowed upon two BPWNJ members, Lucy Tarangelo and Jean Batters by for their long-term and exceptional service to the foundation. The BPWNJ also distributed college scholarships to deserving women. Among the recipients was RBR’s Laritza Lopez, Red Bank, who will attend Brookdale College in the fall, the first member of her family to do so.
As listed in the BPWNJ Conference journal, “The Women of Achievement
Award is presented to outstanding women who have “exemplified excellence in
leadership, as a result of caring more than others think is safe, dreaming more
than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.”
Risa Clay, who began her professional life in business, changed direction to become a student assistance counselor after obtaining her master’s degree in counseling. She took that position at RBR 19 years ago and soon after wrote a grant to establish the SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program or on-site clinic. As the director of The SOURCE for eight years, she executed its mission to “remove all barriers to academic success.” The Source is a long-time model program that has provided counseling, academic support and preventative health care to young people and their families in the RBR community. As Supervisor of the ELL (English Language Learners) program Mrs. Clay, who is bilingual, also founded the Puente al Futuro (Bridge to the Future) scholarship program that has enabled dozens of ELL students achieve the dream of attending college. The program has enjoyed state model status since 2006. Mrs. Clay has presented the program several times at national conferences. She was elevated to assistant principal of RBR and then Principal in 2010. Over the past few years, Mrs. Clay has been recognized for her leadership and achievements with the prestigious Wilbur Ray award for service in education and the NAACP Education Award.
Risa Clay stated at the BPWNJ ceremony, “Over the years my students have been a source of inspiration. No two days are alike, each week unpredictable, the only constant being the kids.” Thanking the distinguished and accomplished women before her, she added, “As successful women we can be role models, not just for your women but for young men as well, teaching our youth that women can be loving and kind while also being strong, resilient, and independent.”
The BPWNJ is the oldest women’s organization in the country founded in 1919 to
support women’s rights, advocacy in the workplace, health issues and other
issue important to women. For more information visit their website at ww.businessandprofessionalwomennj.or