Staff Spotlight: Celeste Rudge

Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/22/2024

A woman holds up a book, reading it to a class

On a regular day, it’s common to see Celeste Rudge in the hallways of the Duquesne City School District, chatting with a student or a teacher.

In between operating as the district’s Director of Literacy and Innovation and English Language Learners (EL) Coordinator, Rudge always makes it a priority to stay connected with students and teachers, so she can best execute her job.

“With the kids and teachers, I try to check on them and see how they’re doing, what they need and how I can make them successful each day,” said Rudge.

“It’s the kids that keep me going. Just talking with the kids every day and being there for them. I always want to make sure that the kids know that I’m available to them, and they can always talk to me.”

As the district’s Director of Literacy and Innovation, Rudge is fiercely dedicated to making sure that every district student achieves optimum literacy. As the EL Coordinator, Rudge oversees the ESL (English Second Language) teachers and programming, ensuring that ESL students can thrive in the district. Rudge also oversees the district’s paraprofessionals, who Rudge believes offer invaluable support to the district’s teachers.

“As their supervisor, I have built trusting relationships with them,” said Rudge. “They support our teachers, and they support each other.”

Rudge joined the district’s administration in 2020, but her relationship with Duquesne City spans much longer. She started in the district in 2008 as a Reading Specialist, and went on to hold roles as a 1st grade teacher and Reading Coach. While she never planned to work in administration, Rudge has enjoyed the opportunity to affect literacy from a different platform, all while collaborating with like-minded peers.

“Once I got here and started working with the administration, we just all meshed together,” said Rudge. “It’s a really supportive, collaborative group.”

Previous to the Duquesne City School District, Rudge taught Pre-K for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Head Start Program. From her experience of working with young children and helping them foster early literacy skills, Rudge found what she loved and went back to school, achieving her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.

While her days of working in classrooms are behind her, Rudge still draws on previous experiences to best inform her decisions.

“I always think about what I needed, and what I would have liked to have when I was a 1st grade teacher. I look at what would benefit kids most and what would be most advantageous for teachers,” said Rudge. 

“As the Director of Literacy, I make sure that the teachers have what they need so that kids can be successful. My goal and passion is that every child becomes a reader.”

When choosing what materials, resources, and books to embed in the district’s curriculum, Rudge said representation and relatability is important, making sure to supply materials that particularly resonate with the district’s students.

“I look for books that are multicultural, so that the kids see themselves in the stories. That’s really important,” said Rudge.

“When I look at resources that come across my desk, I look at how well they’re going to fit our teachers and our kids. There’s a lot of stuff out there, but you have to look at if it’s really going to help our teachers and students move forward.”

As the district’s student population grows and changes, making sure that materials resonate is especially important. Over the past couple of years, the district’s ESL population has grown drastically. Along the way, Rudge has been on top of it, making sure that every student’s needs are being met. It’s been a challenge, but one that Rudge has greatly enjoyed.

“I’ve really learned so much about the different cultures that we have in the building,” said Rudge. “I just try to make sure that they – along with their teachers — get what they need to excel in those English language skills.”