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2022 Hall of Fame Inductees

Wissahickon High School honored fourteen (14) alumni for outstanding contributions in post-graduate athletics, academics, professional or lifetime achievements and/or community service in the Wissahickon community and beyond at the 2022 Alumni Hall of Fame Induction on October 7, 2022. The award ceremony, postponed for two years due to COVID, included nominations from 2020 and 2021.


Mehrdad BarikbinMehrdad Barikbin ’00
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Since 2020, Mehrdad Barikbin, has been an Assistant United States Attorney in Southern California and a Major in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

Prior to his role as a Federal Prosecutor, he held a variety of legal and non-legal positions while on active duty, including Platoon Commander and Executive Officer. Major Barikbin served as a Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, providing legal advice to the Command General of over 40,000 active duty Marines and Sailors at Camp Pendleton, CA.  He has also served as a deployed Staff Judge Advocate in Afghanistan, and as the officer in charge of the Camp Dwyer Detention Facility, he was responsible for the processing of several hundred foreign detainees. Additionally, he was aboard the USS Essex for an 8-month deployment.

Before attending Widener University School of Law school and joining the military, Major Barikbin was a special education teacher in San Francisco and did his student teaching at Wissahickon Middle School while obtaining a degree in elementary education from Temple University.

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Kristen BeckettKristin Beckett ’07
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As the Head of Wellness at Rivian, Kristin Beckett supports the well-being of the employees of an electric vehicle manufacturing company and incorporates wellness into the fabric of the organization's culture. In this role, she holds innovative sessions with teams across the company to create dialogue and inspire people to learn more about self-care, starting with their new-hire onboarding process that integrates the topics of Belonging and Wellness. From virtual and on-site fitness classes, to external speakers on wellness-related topics, to smoothie days, to mental health and wellness sessions customized for different teams, Ms. Beckett is known for her efforts to promote positivity and collaboration among colleagues.

As a company committed to mitigating climate change, Rivian provides Ms. Beckett an opportunity to support principles she learned at William and Mary University where she was the leader of the Net Impact organization, an environmentally focused student organization promoting sustainability. After graduating in 2011 with a double major in Finance and German and with the highest GPA in the business school, Ms. Beckett worked at IBM and Tesla, and was involved in the Women in Tesla organization.

Ms. Beckett’s journey from being the WHS Class of 2007 Valedictorian to her Head of Wellness position at Rivian has taught her how important it is to take care of your body and mind, both in and outside of the workplace. Her impact on the well-being of others is a legacy to be proud of.

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Bill DeeringBill Deering '86
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Mr. Deering is a motivational speaker who speaks primarily with middle schools, high schools, and colleges and universities through the country, sharing inspiration with everyone he meets.

Becoming a motivational speaker was not an obvious career choice though. When Mr. Deering was in middle school, he was often picked-on for his stuttering. By the end of his sophomore year, he was struggling with loneliness, neglecting his health and failing most of his classes. Before his junior year though, Mr. Deering made the life-changing decision to try out for the football team. He made new friends who were encouraging and supportive and learned that by being part of a team he could achieve anything.

In 1993, Mr. Deering graduated from West Chester University with a degree in Communication Disorders. He then completed speaker training and has since delivered his message of courage, power, and passion to over 15,000 people.

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Joseph Donahue ’85
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Joe Donahue is the Senior Director of News and Programming for WAMC and has been with the station since 1994. He is best known for his continuing work as a talk show host and interviewer on the daily talk program, The Roundtable. Mix a roster of amazing guests and intelligent questions and you get interviews Metroland described as “in a category by themselves” and “distinguished by a blend of warmth and empathy, genuine curiosity, and sharp intelligence.”

The Roundtable's hallmark is interviews by host and executive producer Joe Donahue and his unique approach. The daily award-winning Roundtable program airs daily from 9-12 AM on the WAMC/Northeast Public Radio network, where Donahue has dedicated his career to the excellence of radio broadcasting. He also hosts the nationally syndicated half hour chat with renowned authors, The Book Show.

Joe has been honored with over 50 national and local awards for his interviewing achievements, including the prestigious Scripps-Howard Excellence in Electronic Journalism Award and several Edward R. Murrow awards. He is also an adjunct professor at his alma mater, The College of St. Rose, teaching interviewing and radio production.

He voice has been used for major exhibits at museums, including at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and in the award-winning documentary, Indian Point.

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Anne Redstreake French '78
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Wissahickon is proud to honor Mrs. French - a remarkable teacher, coach, mentor, philanthropist, volunteer and social justice warrior who passed away on March 30, 2022.  As an educator, she moved her students and colleagues alike with her genuine desire to know and connect with everyone on a deep interpersonal level. Mrs. French began her career at The Pathway School, a residential school for young people with learning disabilities and emotional challenges, before she transitioned to teach social studies at WHS, Pottsgrove School District and Hill Top Preparatory School.  She tutored and mentored students, coached Debate and Speech, and track and field.

Former students said she sparked their intellectual curiosity and brought history to life, inspiring them to be independent thinkers, fact defenders, and ultimately, better world citizens.  She helped them to be accepting of all opinions and ideas and emphasized diversity and inclusion.

Beyond the classroom, Mrs. French was a tireless volunteer. She served as a Cub Scout den mother, Youth Group Leader and instructor. She participated in protests for equality and peace and helped raise money for the Progeria Research Foundation and other charitable organizations. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels, Manna on Mainstreet and Haiti Outreach Ministries to name a few.

Mrs. French left a lasting mark on all who knew her.  Her life was truly a blessing to all of us who felt her light and warmth. Her loving, guiding, and moral presence will be deeply missed—by family, friends, and the many souls she touched so deeply in her time here.

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Dr. HahnDr. Stephen M. Hahn ’77
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As the Chief Medical Officer of Flagship Pioneering, a bioplatform innovation company, Stephen Hahn, M.D. helps lead its Preemptive Medicine and Health Security initiative. Dr. Hahn joined Flagship Pioneering in June 2021 following two decades of distinguished leadership in healthcare strategy and clinical experience.

From 2019–2021, he served as the 24th Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner. During this time, Dr. Hahn led the 17,000+ person agency that regulates approximately 20 percent of consumer spending in the United States. He oversaw both COVID and non-COVID regulatory affairs, including therapeutics and vaccine development, devices, diagnostics, and clinical trials.

A well-respected oncologist, Dr. Hahn served as chief medical executive in 2018 at the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston prior to his FDA appointment. He was named deputy president and chief operating officer in 2017. In that role, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the cancer center, which includes managing more than 21,000 employees and a $5.2 billion operating budget. He was promoted to that position two years after joining MD Anderson as division head, department chair, and professor of Radiation Oncology. Prior to MD Anderson, Dr. Hahn served as head of the radiation oncology department at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.

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Shelleah JacksonShelleah Jackson, M.S.Ed. ’12
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Shelleah Jackson has a long history of working to fight against inequity and to empower lives. Profiled as a Citizen of the Week by the Ambler Gazette in her sophomore year at WHS, Ms. Jackson volunteered for America Reads, and served as a tutor, a member of Amnesty International, a member of the school newspaper and Future Teachers of America, and served as the president of the debate team and president of Celebrating All Students Achievement (CASA).

Upon graduation from University of Pittsburgh, Ms. Jackson traveled to North Carolina to join the fight against educational inequity. She was accepted into Teach for America as a 9th grade English teacher before transitioning to impact students in the nonprofit arena full-time. She worked for several years with the Young Black Leadership Alliance, a leadership program that prepared high-achieving young Black men and women become leaders who are college and career-ready.

In 2019, Ms. Jackson joined Helps Education Fund, which provides programs and services to advance learning outcomes for economically disadvantaged students. Ms. Jackson also served as the Headquarter Manager of Stiletto Boss University, a youth training program for high-school girls that teaches the foundations of entrepreneurship, business, and community leadership.

Ms. Jackson is a published author having written two books while attending Wissahickon Middle School. She holds a Master of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University, and in the fall 2021, she enrolled at Rutgers Law School, Camden.

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Hope LairdHope Thompson Laird ’78
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Before she even left Wissahickon High School, Hope Thompson Laird knew that she wanted to work with students with special needs, and she has never wavered.

Her senior year she participated in Social Lab, where she gained valuable experience in a special education classroom at the middle school, fueling a desire to teach. After graduation from Gwynedd Mercy College, where she received a Distinguished Teacher Award, Mrs. Laird began teaching in Pennsylvania and then North Carolina, her current home. 

She has taught all aspects of special education at the preschool and elementary levels, including classroom programs for the multi-handicapped, severely and profoundly mentally handicapped, autistic support, learning support and alternative education. She has been awarded Teacher of the Year three times, as well as Teacher of the Year from the Catawba County Autism Society.

After the death of her daughter in 2015 from an undiagnosed congenital heart condition, Mrs. Laird and her husband formed an organization called Love for Lauren to raise awareness and funding to educate others about Congenital Heart Defects. She is passionate about improving screening for this silent killer of teens and young adults. Wissahickon applauds Mrs. Laird’s longtime commitment to enhancing the lives of others.

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Tim MillerTim Miller ‘88
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This former NCAA Division 1 Head Football Coach, educator and current Hypnotist/Speaker, Mr. Miller and his wife/WHS alumna, Michelle Burrell Miller ‘84, travel around the world entertaining and motivating audiences with their Hypnotizing America show - a comedy hypnosis show presented live at venues across the country and as a reality TV show. Hypnotizing America has sold out the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, was voted Showcase Act at 3 of the 2019 National Conventions for Colleges and awarded Best Show by a national booking website. The Millers have performed at high schools, colleges, government agencies, resorts and casinos as well as for top US corporations, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and world leaders, including the first lady of Belize.

During the pandemic, Mr. Miller pivoted their show to virtual programming and found the opportunity to write his first book, Pandemic: Overcoming the Inner Crisis.

For over 20 years, Mr. Miller worked in education, including teaching at Wissahickon High School and serving as the head football coach at both WHS and La Salle University. He also founded the Ambler/Whitpain Youth Football and Cheerleading Program. Before his current career, Mr. Miller developed a successful real estate team with RE/MAX Services in Blue Bell and continues to stay active consulting both Realtors and buyers/sellers.

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Keith OliphantKeith Oliphant ’14
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Inspired by Black Lives Matter and recent protests against systemic racism across the country, Keith Oliphant was eager to do his own part to combat injustice in the Chicago community. He founded Movement for the Movement, combining two of his lifelong passions: mentorship and fitness.

MTFM engages members and friends of the fitness community, including academic experts and professional athletes, in a conversation about systemic racism in the United States.  Its livestreamed events — which are free and open to the public — include a thought-provoking panel discussion followed by a workout for participants of all fitness levels. Donations to MTFM benefit Youth Guidance - an organization that provides school-based programs for more than 13,000 children in Chicago

The first event in 2020, which included Detroit Lions Linebacker Jason Cabinda, attracted 1,200 participants and raised more than $6,000 for Youth Guidance.

Raised by his mother, Mr. Oliphant said he constantly sought out mentors growing up. With their help, he eventually became the WHS salutatorian and attended Penn State, where he graduated at the top of his class with a degree in Finance. Now, Mr. Oliphant has assumed the role of a mentor himself in his work as a management consultant at KPMG, where he helps clients transform their finance organizations and works to recruit minority applicants and volunteers.

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Melissa SchillerMelissa (Schiller) Pardi ’09
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Melissa (Schiller) Pardi is an innovative philanthropic leader in the sports industry serving as Senior Director of Social Responsibility at the NFL. She was recently named to the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 List.  In this role, she oversees the League’s core corporate social responsibility strategy and national partnerships.  She also leads her team in developing and directing community impact plans and engagement events around the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and NFL Draft each year.

Outside of her position with the NFL, Mrs. Pardi volunteers with youth-focused charitable organizations including a non-profit that provides orphan care and education to children in Haiti and has since traveled to Haiti 25+ times. In addition, Mrs. Pardi serves on the Associate Board of Covenant House New York – an organization committed to the life-saving work of serving youth experiencing homelessness, the Advisory Panel for Beyond Sport – an organization supporting sustainable social change through sport, and the Pat Tillman Foundation Selection Committee – which invests in military veterans through academic scholarships.

Mrs. Pardi earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and in Spanish from Pennsylvania State University. In 2016, she earned an Executive Certificate in Sports Philanthropy from the George Washington University School of Business. 

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Kirsten Jahn RichardsonKirsten Jahn Richardson ’03
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Mrs. Jahn Richardson is a successful user experience designer, currently employed as a UX/UI Design Director for DiD in Ambler. She also serves as head coach of the Wissahickon High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 341, "Miss Daisy" – ranked one of the top robotics teams in the world. 

As a young girl in elementary school, Ms. Jahn Richardson had an interest in computers and design, and later got involved in the high school robotics team. After graduating from the team in 2003, she returned as a mentor for the team and took over the role of head coach in 2013. In her tenure as head coach, she has led the team to win countless awards at competitions and serves as event coordinator for the team's annual off-season competition and fundraiser, Ramp Riot, which began over 20 years ago.

As head coach of the robotics team Ms. Jahn Richardson exposes high school students to the variety of STEAM fields; inspires them to become better citizens and make a positive impact on our world; guides students on the proper use of video production equipment, photography equipment, and graphic/web design/video editing software; conducts instructional software and technique-related seminars; guides the team culture of inclusivity and learning; and recruits and manages a staff of coaches and mentors with a variety of different backgrounds. Wiss Nation is grateful for the positive impact Ms. Jahn Richardson has on our students and our robotics program. 

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Ross Shanken ‘88
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Ross Shanken is a data & analytics business builder, thought leader, and patent holder who founded Jornaya (originally LeadiD) in 2011.  Jornaya’s unique data intelligence platform connects major-life purchase marketers with customer journey behaviors to make the process easier for the marketing industry and consumers.

Jornaya clients are able to apply behavioral data to their workflows to provide the right information at the right time for customers who are actively shopping to make a major-life purchase, such as a car, mortgage, education or insurance - that typically involve a lot of research, investigation, and comparison. Applying the behavioral data provides a better shopping experience for consumers based on what they’re truly interested in, and where they are in their shopping journey, and turns more leads into sales for the company.

Prior to Jornaya, Mr. Shanken worked for 13 years with TARGUSinfo, a data intelligence company. 

Mr. Shanken enjoys adding value to others, spending time consulting with entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses. He is a guest author for Marketing Technology Insights and LeadsCon. He also serves on the School Board of Abington Friends School (AFS).

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Gregg WalkerGregg Walker ‘90
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Gregg Walker is an accomplished senior executive with more than 25 years of business leadership and experience in the media, technology, and telecommunications industries. He has combined that industry experience with mergers and acquisitions expertise to create value for clients and companies investors over the course of his career.

In 1996, Mr. Walker joined Goldman Sachs in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department and left Goldman in 2006 to help lead the Corporate Development Department at Viacom. After three years at Viacom, Mr. Walker became the head of the Corporate Development Department at Sony where  he worked across all business units, including PlayStation, Sony Pictures, Sony Music, and Sony Electronics.

Mr. Walker joined Muller & Monroe in July 2021 as a Partner and Managing Director where he leads the firm’s co-investment efforts and heads the New York City office. Additionally, he has been the Managing Member of G.A. Walker since its inception in 2016 and served as the President and COO of Remarkable, a live entertainment company. When Remarkable invested in the Big Apple Circus, Mr. Walker also assumed the role of CEO of the Big Apple Circus, achieving the highest revenues in the company’s 40 year history. In 2022, Mr. Walker joined the board of Gorilla Technology Group Inc., a publicly traded company and a global leader in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

Mr. Walker earned a full academic scholarship to attend Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri where he graduated magma cum laude, then enrolled at Yale Law School, where he received his law degree in 1997.

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