LITTLE SILVER – Red Bank Regional (RBR) principal Risa Clay recently was honored by the Business and Professional Women of New Jersey Foundation (BPWNJ) with its 2012 Women of Achievement award.
The celebration took place at The BPWNJ’s annual conference, held at Brookdale College in May. Two organization members, Lucy Tarangelo and Jean Battersby, were honored for their long-term and exceptional service to the foundation.
The BPWNJ distributed college scholarships to recipients, including RBR’s Laritza Lopez of Red Bank who will attend Brookdale Community College in the fall.
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.”
Clay, a Tinton Falls resident, began her professional life in business and 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. The model program provides counseling, academic support and preventative health care to young people and their families in the RBR community.
As supervisor of the English Language Learners (ELL) program, Clay, who is bilingual, also founded the Puente al Futuro (Bridge to the Future) scholarship program that has enabled dozens of ELL students to achieve the dream of attending college. The program has enjoyed state model status since 2006. Clay, who was assistant principal at RBR, became principal in 2010.
“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,” Clay said during the BPWNJ ceremony. 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.”