Ambridge Area School District

901 Duss Avenue, Ambridge PA 15003 | 724.266.2833


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2nd Grade:  Students are creating pet rocks and designing playground equipment that can hold their pet rocks.  Students will work as a team to design and create a twisty slide, jungle gym, and other playground equipment.

1st Grade:  Students are designing and building houses for the 3 Little Pigs.  The structures should be strong enough to withstand a puff of air from Big Bad Wolf (a blowdryer)!


These first grade girls constructed a house out of bricks to keep their pigs safe from the Big Bad Wolf.

Kindergarten:  Students will be completing nursery rhyme STEAM challenges!  We have completed challenges from Humpty Dumpty and Hey Diddle, Diddle.


These kindergarten students created an egg protector for their Humpty Dumpty egg drop.


Anna Galiardi and Skye Galiardi both won first place in the Women’s Club District Competition.  Their photos will now move on to compete at the state level.  Click here to vote for the Kieth Rothfus Congressional Art Contest.  Voting is available through April 4th. 


crop cut brochureI am excited and proud to start the Ambridge Performing Arts Academy Professional Summer intensive Dance program at the Ambridge High School.  The 3 week program will allow every student to be challenged through a comprehensive curriculum that has been designed with myself and the various summer dance faculty members that will be teaching classes throughout the course in Ballet Technique, Pointe, Jazz,  Modern , Variations , Contemporary Partnering and Rehearsals.  College dance credits will be available for students that are juniors or seniors if they choose to apply.

The 201 summer faculty has been selected based on their professional qualifications of their own careers  Each of the faculty shares the same belief’s of teaching that, through individual corrections for each of the students will only improve on their technical strength and abilities to reach their full potential at the end of the 3 week program

At the conclusion of the summer program each student will perform in a Modern, Jazz and Pointe piece at the dance festival “ Fete de La Danse “  Joining the festival will include various  Performing Groups and University’s dance departments throughout Pennsylvania . Given the students a rare opportunity of working and sharing the same passion with other young artists and an opportunity to be seen by different Directors and choreographers

On behalf of the faculty of the summer intensive dance program and myself we are looking forward in working with each of you over the summer!


Kenneth Nickel

Artistic Director

Ambridge Area School District Performing Arts Academy


document 16 Summer Dance Registration 2015


GFWC Woman’s Club of Baden

Student Art and Photography Winners for 2016


Division 1 Grades 1-2

1stAva Draganjac          State Street Gr. 2

2nd Phoenix Hale          Highland Gr. 2

3rd Marena Baker         State Street Gr. 2

4th Marissa Glasser      Highland Gr. 2

5th Myah Sherrill           Highland Gr. 2

6th Brianna Cermak      State Street Gr .2


Division 2 Grades 3-5

1st Makenzie Majercik  Highland Gr. 4

2nd Amara Platz            Highland Gr. 5

3rd Lydia Mycyk            Highland Gr. 5

4th Delaney Moore        State Street Gr. 5

5th Gianna R. Roak       Highland Gr. 5

6th Mykenzie Carter      Highland Gr. 4

Read more: GFWC Student Art and Photography Winners


In STEAM, students in 3rd Grade have been using Little Bits, electronic building blocks that snap together with magnets, to learn about creating circuits! The power source blocks, input blocks and output blocks are all color coded, and they have been learning about how the input affects the output by tying in the Reading skill, "cause and effect!"

ready Resource Educational Associate Arts Degree for Youths is a very unique program that is offered at the Ambridge Area High School Performing Arts Academy. This unique opportunity is for high school students that are juniors and seniors that are pursuing a career in the arts of Dance, Music, Musical Theatre/ Theatre.

    The program is designed for the students to declare their strongest interest in the arts of Music, Dance, Music Theatre or Theatre Education. Upon completion the students will have earn an Associate Arts Degree in their particular field of the arts upon their graduation from high school.

     This special designed curriculum in Arts and Education and in conjunction with a local collage is a 60 credited course of a two year completion.

      The Curriculum combines General Education Core with Education Core Courses. The art curriculum of Dance, Music and Musical Theater/Theater provides all hands on classes in the studios as well as Art Academic Core Courses in History, Productions, World Arts, Lighting and Staging, Pedagogy and performances and internships.

      Most or all of the credits are transferable to a four year college or University for the student to continue their education of earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in much of a shorter time so they may initiate their professional careers early.


High School

Mr. Todd Hartman

Mrs. Marie Dewar

Mrs. Jamie Orth

Junior High School

Mrs. Jennife Ax

Mrs. Christeen Ceratti


Mr. Tom Frost

Ms. Samantha Rappolt


About the Marching Band Director, Marie Dewar

          Marie Dewar is the Director of Bands and Choirs for the Ambridge Area High School, and she has been working with the district since the early 1990’s, where she started out as a woodwind instructor for the band program’s Summer Band and Band Camp seasons. In 1999, she was hired full time as the Choral Director and Assistant Band Director. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, with a BS degree in Music Education. While a student at Penn State, Marie was a member of the BlueBand, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Blue Band and Church Choir, as well as a substitute Eb, Bb and Bass Clarinetist for the Altoona Symphony. Currently, she is working on completing a Master’s Degree. Marie manages to find time to perform both on clarinet and voice in her community, as well.

          Mrs. Dewar is also the advisor to the Tri-M Music Honor Society at Ambridge Area High School, in addition to the club advisor to the Thespian and Bible Clubs. She is a member of NAfME; National Association for Music Education and PMEA; the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, as well as the American Choral Directors Association, and has been named in several different Who’s Who publications in recent years.

          Marie lives in the school district with her husband, Bob and three children, Nick, Ben, and Elizabeth.

Ambridge High School Marching Band Bio

            The Ambridge Area School District has a rich history that spans almost 100 years. The American Bridge Company (a division of US Steel) built the current High School for the children of its employees. As the district has grown with the area, weathering both good times and bad, we have strong ties to our heritage and to our community. From the early years of the steel mills to the current surge in businesses in the region, Ambridge Area School District has remained consistent in its commitment to providing the very best education possible to our students.

            The Ambridge Area High School Marching Band is rich in tradition, with almost many of the school’s students participating in the music program. The music they perform is unique because the students add their own personal mark to the performance, adding to the “show” quality that is the Ambridge Area High School Marching Band.

            The band’s numerous honors include participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2004, participation in Disney’s Very Merry Christmas Parade in 2002 and several appearances at Steelers games, both during the season and in the playoffs. More recently, the band performed in the halftime show at the Sugar Bowl in 2009, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Parade in 2010, and at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in 2011.

The Ambridge Area High School Steel Drum Band, under the direction of Todd Hartman, has received regional and national recognition for its outstanding musical ability, unique style, and infectious energy. The ensemble was founded by Sal Aloe and with the help of Phil Solomon, a local steel pan builder. The Late Richard Zana took the reins a few years later and took the program to new level of popularity beyond “Bridger Country” during the 1990’s. After Mr. Zana’s retirement in 1999, Todd Hartman took over and has been leading the program ever since.

Since its inception in 1988, the steel band program has grown from five students participating after school to an average of eighty band students enrolled in three levels of classes spread over four periods during the school day. Their current musical repertoire reflects a diverse collection of styles including traditional calypso & soca, big band swing, afro-cuban and latin-jazz, classical, pop, and tropical-rock.

The steel band was one of only three high school groups from across the nation selected to perform at two of the American Association of School Administrators National Conferences, one of which gave them an opportunity to open up for Steven Spielberg’s keynote address in San Francisco. Additionally, they have been to three National School Board Association Conferences, and most recently, performed for over 9,000 engineers and vendors from all over the world at the annual Association for Iron and Steel Technology’s International Conference.  

The band has shared the Heinz Hall stage with the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops and has appeared annually in B.E. Taylor’s popular Christmas show. Since 2002, the steel band has been invited to perform cultural outreach assemblies at thirty two different school districts located around the Pittsburgh area and has performed at twelve different institutions of higher learning. Their most memorable experience came when they played with the marching band in the 2004 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. It marked the first time in the 115 year history of the parade that a steel band combined with a marching band.

TaMara Swank
swankTaMara holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance and Master’s Degree in Exercise Science. TaMara is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Seton Hill University where she teaches undergraduate dance courses in all styles of dance as well as Dance Kinesiology and Teaching of Dance. TaMara has been teaching dance for over twenty years and is the founder of Studio 22 Performing Arts Center and SHUDA, the university community dance program. She has taught all levels dance technique and has been commissioned to create choreography for children’s programs, high school dance companies, university dance programs and musical theatre productions. In 2013, TaMara taught master classes at the Governor’s School for the Arts 10th Regional High School Dance Festival in Norfolf, Vriginia. As dance faculty at Seton Hill University, she has choreographed more than thirty pieces for dance concert productions and musicals, and her works have been selected for choreography awards at Showstoppers, Starquest, Headliners, Starbound, and Platinum Productions. She has performed professionally for Paul Osbourne Productions and Don Brockett Productions and choreographed for many productions including: “Grease”, “Hello Dolly”, “Oliver”, “The King and I”, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Pippin”, “Cabaret”, and many more.  Swank also has a list of original dance works including “The Seven Deadly Sins” dance concert and “EleMental Revolution” in collaboration with Seton Hill theatre faculty.


Renee Keil

keilRenee Keil has worked as a ballet, jazz and modern dance as well as an acting/theatre teacher.  She received BS and MA degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, and did graduate work in movement at the University of Oslo, Norway. She studied with Gus Giordano, Merce Cunningham, Roberto Munoz, Katheryn Posin, Paddy Toon and others. She uses Luigi jazz technique as her base. Renee began teaching at Chartiers Valley HS where she created a comprehensive dance and theatre program. Subsequently she became a Lead Teacher at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Institute for Arts Educators.  Other teaching positions include CCAC, Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh (movement for theater) as well as teaching jazz dance for ten years in Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Theatre Program.

Awards include the PA Dance Association’s Teacher of the Year, the Eastern District Dance Association Award, and Best Practice Awards in dance and theatre from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Arts Alliance, and Pittsburgh Fund for Arts in Education. In 2001 and 2005 she received the Pittsburgh CLO Gene Kelly Award for Best Direction of a Musical and has been nominated numerous times for her choreography. 

Renee has directed and choreographed for Duquesne University, choreographed for the University of Pittsburgh, CCAC and Penn State Altoona as well as for numerous regional theatre companies. She also served on the Pennsylvania Arts Assessment Team for over ten years in both Dance and Theatre. 


Marvin Askew

askew2Mr Askew has trained at the School of American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Leon Denelian and Patricia Wild as well as the American Dancer center with Alvin Alley.  Mr. Askew has danced professionally with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Chicago Ballet and the Maryland Ballet. He has danced many principal roles throughout his luminous career.  Mr. Askew is highly respected as a guest Master teacher and as a brilliant choreographer here and abroad who can highlight the dancer’s talents and abilities  to new heights.  Mr. Askew is the Artistic and Executive Director of the Buffalo Inner City Ballet since 1987.



Art teacher Jamie Zbrzezny earned a BA in fine arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2009. Ms. Zbrzezny spent a year studying at the University of Hawai’i Manoa. Then, she earned a post-bachelorette degree in Art Education in 2011. Her career at Ambridge started at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. She loves her job teaching middle school students.  Her favorite mediums include ceramics, glass blowing, and fiber arts; she enjoys spending time with her family, yoga, and traveling. We have enjoyed a partnership with Pittsburgh Center for the Arts for 3 consecutive years and look forward to hosting a third artist residency program this year. Several cultural opportunities are granted to our students through this partnership. Most recently a handful of Junior High students attended an event at the Pittsburgh Glass Center called “Play with Fire.” We are anticipating an arts integration program for the district through our partnership.

Art 8

Our students experience the elements of art by creating a variety of different artworks throughout the semester.  Opportunities to work individually and in collaborative groups are made available.  Art history, criticism, and aesthetics are a part of every lesson. Students are also introduced to the art of formal critiques.

Art 7

7th grade art students will be touching on the elements and principles of art as well as working on special projects. This year we will be reclaiming clay and creating high fire tiles for a future outdoor mural to be displayed in the community. Students will be involved in all aspects of the art making processes from start to display.


BCET Teacher of the Year 2


Congratulations to Ambridge STEAM Educator/Technology Integrator Nicole Darroch for being selected as a 2019 Beaver County Educational Trust Teacher of the Year!


Mrs. Darroch was recognized for her contributions to education in Beaver County during a special awards ceremony, held May 20 at The Willows. Mr. Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, served as the Keynote Speaker for the event.