Madelyn Ridgeway


WATERLOO — A coordinator has been hired for a new Waterloo Community Schools’ program that will provide students experiential and service learning opportunities.

Madelyn Ridgeway will head the program, funded with a $1.5 million three-year grant from the R.J. McElroy Trust, pending Board of Education approval. It is the largest grant committed to a program in McElroy’s history.

Ridgeway will coordinate the community-engaged learning initiative designed to benefit all district students that starts this fall at the elementary school level. The program, which the district plans to maintain beyond the initial grant funding, will expand to the middle and high school levels in subsequent years. Funds will cover her salary along with expenses related to activities students do.

“Waterloo Schools is launching this initiative to move learning outside the classroom and into our communities,” Superintendent Jane Lindaman said in a news release. “The initiative will include system-wide and personalized opportunities and we are excited for Ms. Ridgeway to lead the charge. Her background in coordinating programs with community-based outreach will be ideal for her work in this new role.”

Currently the owner and creative director of Madelyn Ridgeway Events, she plans events for corporate and private clients. Ridgeway also is a master trainer for Iowa State University’s Strengthening Families 10-14 Program, a position she has held since 2013.

She worked in a number of different jobs prior to those. Ridgeway was a coordinator for Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, a families field specialist for ISU Extension, a liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense Rock Island (Ill.) Arsenal, and a coordinator for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Hinesville, Ga.

“I’m excited to serve the teachers and students of Waterloo Schools,” she said in a news release. “The new experiential and service learning program offers a tremendous opportunity to not only the students of the district but also the community as a whole to further expand the way our students learn and serve within the community.

“I see so many opportunities within the program to highlight the many great businesses and opportunities of our community and expose our children to the numerous options available to them right here at home and beyond,” said Ridgeway. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to be a part of this new endeavor.”

Ridgeway is a graduate of Alabama A&M University where she went on to receive a master’s degree in family and consumer sciences.


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