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2019 Gala Honoree: Richard Rigoglioso, Mayor of Garfield

Mayor Richard “Riggs” Rigoglioso, a lifelong resident known to family and friends as “Richie Riggs” was sworn in as Garfield’s newest Mayor on January 1, 2017. Richie was a 1983 Garfield High School Graduate who went on to acquire his profound sense of storytelling at Plymouth State University, where he graduated in 1987. Being a diligent student of having fun while acquiring knowledge, Richie went on to receive his Masters of Education, plus an additional 30 graduate credits, from New Jersey University. His bachelor days came to an end after he first met his future wife Jessie (Figueroa), and altogether they have six children, all who attend the Garfield Public School system: Olivia, Richard, Giada, Joseph, Sofia and Anthony.

His loving parents, Marie and Charles Rigoglioso, raised their family of ten children in Garfield with education being a priority for their kids – Dr. Joann Lorber-Rigoglioso, Dominic Rigoglioso, Esq., Dr. Vincent Rigoglioso, Dr. Camille Cosentino-Rigoglioso, Dr. Charles Rigoglioso, Robert Rigoglioso, Entrepreneur, Joseph Rigoglioso, Esq., David Rigoglioso, Engineer, and Daniel Rigoglioso an educator. The Rigoglioso’s growing up in a small, blue-collar town with close-knit, hardworking families, gained a strong sense of community values that set Garfield residents apart from any other.

Richie Riggs was the owner and “jack of all trades” of the Botany Mill Bar and Restaurant, before becoming a Health Teacher for the Garfield school district in 1997. After stuffing the ballot boxes and gathering absentee votes, he became the 2002 “Teacher of The Year.” Subsequently in 2007, Richie Riggs was promoted to disciplinarian or the Garfield Middle School, where his art of negotiating and compromising with middle school students were brought to the forefront. He parlayed his uncanny abilities to a vice principal position at Garfield Middle School in 2012. As the vice principal of the Middle School, Richie Riggs developed the discipline policy, and helped facilitate the dress code, however he is most proud of his work in bringing the community and school together. Presently Richie Riggs is the Principal of the Garfield Middle School and with the support of his Middle School vice principals, and his staff, he has developed such a rapport with the parents, students and community.

If you know anything about Richie, “political correctness” is not one of his fortes, so a position in politics did not seem a likelihood in his future, however marriage and 6 kids tend to change person’s perspective in live. As a lifelong resident and principal in Garfield, Richie Riggs understands the importance of “Quality of Life” and made that a high priority of his winning campaign in the 2016 election. Richie Riggs wants to see the growth of new businesses and expansion of existing businesses, the redevelopment of Passaic Street, the addition of new programs and sports for our youth, and the continuation of beautification in our City. He is passionate about Garfield, and strives daily in the R & R of Garfield; that is the revitalization and redevelopment of Garfield into the hidden gem of Bergen County. His goal, as well as the goal of the Garfield City Council, is to enhance the opportunities for many young families to move to Garfield and to help young adults return and keep residence in Garfield, all the while assuring strong future for the City of Garfield.

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