ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
I am excited to be opening the doors to Westbrook Academy Childcare & Learning Center. I feel the school represents the best parts of my education, career, life experiences and relationships.
I was raised in a large family, as the youngest of seven. I became an aunt and a babysitter when I was 10 years-old. I have enjoyed taking care of and teaching children ever since. My family has grown to include 35 nieces and nephews along with my own 4 children and my passion for working with kids has grown along with it. When a group of kids are together, there is joy, excitement, energy, creativity…it’s like a celebration. Because children are wise enough to know that Life is a Celebration! Who wouldn’t want to be where the positive minded people are?
Speaking of positive minded people, I was blessed with phenomenal parents who always put us first and taught us that is where all children are to be placed. My Dad was disabled, having lost his hearing when he was 10-years-old. One of us children would go on all of my Dad’s errands with him to help him communicate. As a young child, I was aware of how my Dad’s disability made him feel isolated. He knew that people avoided him rather than try to communicate with him and he felt left out a lot. However, in all of my life, I never once heard my Dad complain about his hearing loss. Never did he feel sorry for himself and ironically, my Dad’s disability was one of my greatest gifts.
My Dad taught us to be thankful for the things we did have, to be compassionate, to not judge others, to give and forgive, to not sweat the small stuff, to read more, to eat more, to laugh, and to love. Most of all, my Dad taught us to include everybody. He hated to think anyone would feel left out or forgotten because of him. It is in that spirt that I open the doors to Westbrook Academy.
In 1995 I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Molloy College on Long Island, N.Y.. Since that time I have been on academically and therapeutically based multidisciplinary teams within the contexts of schools, day programs, residential settings, and medically based settings. I have been an employee of the Missouri Department of Mental Health for 13 years and hold Missouri licensure as an SLP-A. My interest is in the future of the children of Missouri and in the community of Arnold and surrounding areas of Jefferson and south St. Louis counties.
***Westbrook Academy has been established in the memories of Ralph R. Bradford Sr. and Jordan Nicholas Riggio. ***