An elementary school teacher, soccer coach, and mother of three, Erica Ippoliti has joined the Ridgefield Prevention Council.

She was named to a vacancy on the council by a 4-to-0 vote of the Board of Selectmen on Nov. 28.

“As a teacher I can bring the perspective of what I am seeing,” Ippoliti told the selectmen.

Ippoliti previously taught kindergarten and first grade, then took six years off to start raising her own children.

Now “transitioning back into the workplace,” she works at Farmingville Elementary School as the “building substitute” — a regular sub who fills in and helps in different capacities on various days.

While the Prevention Council with its mission of battling drug and alcohol abuse tends to focus on the town’s high school and middle school populations, Ippoliti felt her work in a Ridgefield elementary school would still offer a valuable perspective.

“I think me being in an elementary school provides a different lens for them,” she said.

Board members asked if, as a teacher, she saw much drinking or drug abuse.

“I’m at an elementary school,” she said. “I have not seen that, no.”

But she thought it would be worthwhile for the council to bring its message to younger students, even if the main focus remained on kids in the middle and high schools.

“High school is too late,” she said.

“Statistically kids are getting exposed to that younger and younger — and nine, ten is the time to catch them.”

She’d already been to two meetings of the Prevention Council, Ippoliti told the selectmen.

“I just feel it’s important to get involved,” she said.