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Superintendent's Office » Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

The Apollo-Ridge School District is recognizing our alumni for their significant contributions while attending school and their inspiring accomplishments after graduation. Alumni from Apollo, Elders Ridge, and Apollo-Ridge are eligible for this recognition.


Each month a new graduate will be featured and previous postings will be archived in the strip at right.


In order to submit a nominee, please complete this form. Your contact information is not required, but enables the District to get in touch if additional details or clarifications are necessary.

 Renae M. (Gordish) McDermott

Class of 1984

Activities: Ski Club Treasurer, Jr./Sr Class Treasurer, Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, Band, Varsity Club Secretary, PAC, Yearbook, Newspaper, Football Statistician, Student Council, Prom Committee, Homecoming Court

Goal: To attend college and major in Health and Physical Education and to be successful in whatever I attempt to do in life.


Accomplishments Since Graduation: Renae is a Special Agent with the FBI. She rose through the ranks and was selected as the 34th Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI Knoxville Division and the first and only female to serve in this capacity since 1937.

Renae Gordish earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology at IUP before relocating to Washington, DC, where she began working for the FBI as an FBI Police Officer. She then transferred to the FBI Laboratory Division as a Physical Science Technician in the Firearms and Toolmarks Unit.

Upon graduation from the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, she moved to Miami and worked Violent Crime, Public Corruption, and Counter Terrorism. Renae was a Team Leader of the Evidence Response Team for ten years. While serving as a Supervisory Special Agent in the Counter Terrorism Division, Iraq Unit, she led Counterterrorism investigations that included a temporary assignment in Iraq leading a team of FBI employees while serving under General Stanley McCrystal. 

Renae led a Criminal Enterprise Squad of 24 men and women who investigated organized crime, gangs, drugs and violent crime in Dallas before moving on to Washington, DC. As a Unit Chief in the Human Resource’s Division, she oversaw the onboarding for all FBI new employees until her next promotion. As the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) in Albuquerque, she had oversight of the Criminal Investigations and Administrative branches throughout New Mexico.

Renae’s next post led her to Knoxville, TN, where she served as the Special Assistant to the FBI Director. It was then that she was selected as the first female Special Agent in Charge for the FBI in Knoxville, TN.  In this position, her oversight and responsibility includes 41 counties in East Tennessee which covers the eastern side of the state from Johnson City to Chattanooga. Renae is ultimately responsible for and leads approximately 200 employees with oversight of all investigations, operations and administration of the FBI’s entire Knoxville Division.


Renae is currently the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI Academy, Training Division. Her accomplishments should be an inspiration to all of us. She is proof that a small town country girl, who grew up outside of Apollo, PA, can achieve success by working hard and staying committed no matter what.

Most importantly, Renae believed in herself and never allowed herself to say "no" or that she wasn’t good enough.   She has striven to always be better and do better even if she failed at times.  Believing in herself while remaining humble has been the key to Renae’s success.