Richard Ruffalo

Irvington, NJ | Years Taught: 1973 – Present

In losing his own sight, Richard has helped improve the vision of countless students. As a science teacher and coach, Richard’s success is as a role model, demonstrating to children that they can overcome adversity, discover hidden talents, and reach their potential. Having gone blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa, Richard developed other skills, including a photographic memory and total auditory recall. He shares his new talents with his students to show them that they have hidden talent yet to be discovered. A member of the U.S. Disabled Sports Team since 1984, Richard has won world titles in four different events and has accumulated 18 national titles, nine world records, and 10 state titles against sighted, able-bodied competitors. He currently ranks as the top blind track and field athlete in the history of disabled sports.

Additional Recognition

  • 1995 • Disney Teacher of the Year
  • 1994 • Inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame
  • 1991 • New Jersey Blind Achiever of the Year Award
  • 1989 • Academy Award of Sports “Inspirational Athlete” Victor Award
  • 1988 • Named Disabled Athlete of the Year for athletic, civic, and professional accomplishments by the United States Olympic Committee
  • 1985 • Princeton University Distinguished Teacher of the Year