Meet Dede! Dede Faltot Rittman graduated from Edinboro University in 1974 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary English and attended the University of Pittsburgh for post-graduate credits. After two years of teaching in the Penn Hills School District, she began teaching English in the North Allegheny School District, a position she held for thirty-five years. In 1993, she created the Introduction to Theater class, and taught both English and Theater. For thirty-two of those years, Dede worked with not only academic students, but also underachieving students and those with special needs. She retired in 2011.
Known as “the Bunny Teacher,” Dede affectionately called her students her “bunnies,” and one year for her birthday, two of her English classes bought her a real rabbit, Binky Rittman. Dede used bunny stamps and stickers for rewards and incentives, and when students were at home sick and requested homework, Dede wrote each one a personal note, adding a bunny stamp and a lollipop!
Her love of theater and performing landed her at the helm of the North Allegheny High School spring musical, for which she was either assistant director or director for ten years. She also chose the fabrics and designed costumes for the shows, and won a Gene Kelly Award in 1991 for Best Costumes Design for My Fair Lady. Dede also directed the North Allegheny Intermediate Talent Show for many years, and acted as a theatrical advisor to several other school districts.
Dede served on the Executive Council of the North Allegheny Federation of Teachers for many years, and for six years, was a trustee on the board of the North Allegheny Foundation for Excellence, a nonprofit group which funds innovative teaching projects. At North Allegheny, Dede also served on the Project 84 Competency Based Education in partnership with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit; the Krista McAuliffe Scholarship Steering Committee; the Principal’s Advisory Committee; and various committees for North Allegheny Intermediate High School Middle States Evaluations. She also sponsored the Dance Club, Calligraphy Club, and worked with Student Council for years.
An avid golfer, Dede coached both Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys Golf at North Allegheny. Since 1980, she has been a member of the Golf Steering Committee of Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League, the governing body for Western Pennsylvania high school sports. Dede is also a volunteer rules official with the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association and chairperson of the Standing Rules for Women’s Golf Association of Western Pennsylvania. She plays in numerous tournaments every summer.
Dede always thought she would teach for forty years, but when her husband and best friend, Scott, was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer in December 2009, she retired to care for him in the final stages of his illness. Scott died in 2012.
After retiring, Dede began her own company, Rittman Publishing, LLC, which places an emphasis on teaching the three C’s: Confidence, Communication, and Creativity, whether working with student teachers, special needs students in theater, or those who need one-on-one tutoring.
Her book Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher, released in late September, 2014, has received seven awards.
See another publication by Dede Rittman – Grady Gets Glasses