Welcome to Our School

Welcome to the Internet home of the Ridgway Area School District. Together, the three schools that comprise our district provide a safe, empowering learning environment for kindergarten through 12th grade students in Ridgway, Pennsylvania. 

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website. We are happy to provide you with information about our district, our elementary school, our middle and high school, and the excellent programs and services we offer our students.

A Message from Our Superintendent

Hello Everyone,

I would like to introduce myself. I am Heather McMahon-Vargas and I was appointed recently as the superintendent of the Ridgway Area School District. I am grateful to the board for their support. I would also like to extend thanks to those of you who have sent me well wishes and congratulations. Your positive thoughts mean a lot to me. I just wanted to share a little about myself. As a parent, I have always appreciated knowing a little about the teachers and administration to whom I entrust my children. 

First, I am a graduate of the Ridgway High School (1991). Following graduation, I was determined, like most seniors, to leave Ridgway for some place bigger and better. Twenty-six years after graduation, I firmly believe with all my heart, Ridgway is the best place on earth. Ridgway is my home and I have chosen to raise my family here. I am married and have three children who will be in first grade, third grade and fifth grade. As an educator and a lifelong resident of Ridgway, I believe we owe it to our young people to maintain a community that they can come back to and raise a family in. This means we need to have an exceptional education system, quality employment with living wages, a safe and healthy community environment, and opportunities for social, emotional, and professional growth. 

I want to share a little bit about my professional background. I have been employed by the district for the past 19 years and have held various positions: emotional support teacher, behavioral support service coordinator, director of discipline, athletic director, assistant principal, secondary principal, and assistant superintendent. Prior to coming to Ridgway, I was employed by IU9 and taught in the Kane School District; by the Queen Anne's County Board of Education where I taught in an Intensity V Emotional Support Classroom; and by IU9 where I taught early intervention and learning support in Bradford and Otto-Eldred respectively. An interesting side note, while going to college during the summer I also worked at Keystone Carbon Company and in the Ridgway School District's custodial and maintenance department. 

My formal education includes a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education and a master's degree in special education from Clarion University. My administrative certificates include a k-12 principal's certificate from Indiana University and a Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility from Gannon University. I am ABD (all but dissertation) through Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where I am working on a doctorate of education in curriculum and instruction. I am in the writing phase of my dissertation, which focuses on the relationship between administrative and teacher congruence and student achievement in rural school districts in Pennsylvania. 

My hobbies include gardening, berry picking, reading, camping, and running my kiddos to and from their activities. I also enjoy fishing, but my 1st grader out fishes me every time. As a family, we enjoy traveling to visit with our extended family. 

I believe:

  1. the purpose of learning is to prepare all students for opportunities that will enable them to become productive and contributing members of a community. 
  2. all children can learn.
  3. high expectations and high quality instruction are key to student learning.
  4. families and communities are critical to the success of students and schools.
  5. school leaders have a responsibility to facilitate the conditions for student learning; high expectations; quality instruction; and family and community engagement.

My responsibilities:

High quality education is the foundation of a thriving community and is built through the collaborative efforts of the whole. I am very much looking forward to continuing to work with the Ridgway Area School Board, staff, students, families, and community. Your voice is valuable. I would like to hear from you. The best way to contact me is by e-mail. I would like to extend a welcome back to our students, their families, and our staff. I wish you a school year filled with much success and outstanding achievements!


Heather A. McMahon-Vargas

Heather A. McMahon-Vargas, Superintendent