John Ramirez Jr. has been named Superintendent of the Stockton Unified School District in a super majority vote May 25.
Ramirez comes to Stockton with 27 years of experience in education and has a proven track record as an advocate for equity and student achievement.
His dedication began as a child, working in the strawberry fields in Salinas when he was only 6 years old in order to help support his family. He worked in the fields through high school. After high school, Ramirez received his Bachelor’s Degree at Santa Clara University and received his Master’s Degree at Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
He became a teacher and then a principal at the age of 25.
“I was excited about education but at the same time frustrated with the low achievement levels of the students in my community and that’s when I knew I had to take in more responsibility and become a Superintendent in order to make change,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez served as a Superintendent in Salinas, the same community he grew up in. There, he brought the district out of state receivership to becoming one of the highest Title1 performing districts in the state.
“My ultimate goal is to end poverty. I have seen what education did for me and I want to offer students in Stockton all of the opportunities I have been afforded,” said Superintendent John Ramirez Jr. Ramirez says his first goal is to meet with the School Board and calibrate the goals that have been set and create the direction for the next year. At the same time develop a five year plan with clear objectives and outcomes.
“We need to start seeing our students completing high school, entering college, completing college, entering CTE programs and completing them.
We need to develop partnerships with the business community so our students can get work experience while they are in high school” said Ramirez. Ramirez is from humble beginnings and recognizes the need many students have.
“One of the challenges we have with students who grow up like myself is we are not exposed to all of the careers that exist outside of our community. Therefore, the school system must be responsible to expose our students to these opportunities.” said Ramirez.
Ramirez is bilingual and has made sure the board meetings will now be in English and Spanish. “We want all of our parents to have access to provide transparency. We have to be able to make sure our board meetings are available to the entire community. We continually hear about transparency and equity but our actions do not always mirror our words,” said Ramirez.
The Stockton Unified School District has a large Latino population. Nearly 70% of households are Latino. Nearly 30% of our students speak a language other than English. “John Ramirez Jr. is a proven leader who has worked to unite educational institutions under one guiding principle; to improve the quality of education for all students,” said Stockton School Board President Cecilia Mendez.
“Our SUSD parents of English Language Learner (EL)students are so very excited to be partnering with Superintendent Ramirez this school year. He has been instrumental in ensuring that our DELAC and ELAC parents received computers and resources to support their children during hybrid and distance learning. In addition, he has made a concerted effort to meet with our parents regularly to hear the challenges they are facing and work together to find sustainable solutions. His support has been very impactful in our work and we look forward to his leadership in the upcoming school year,” said Director of Language Development Dr. Susana Ramirez
“Superintendent John Ramirez brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to SUSD such as creating a culture of accountability moreover he comes from humble beginnings and he leads with humility,” said one community member. In the short time Ramirez has been Superintendent he has already started making positive changes. He is consistently engaged with parents on a bi-weekly basis. Parents tell us he is accessible.
“He was able to get us computers and help us be involved with our child. We have been asking for computers for a long time and he made it happen in two days,” said an SUSD parent. Ramirez began serving as the Interim Superintendent in February.
“We welcome his leadership as part of our mission to graduate every student to be career, college and community ready,” said SUSD Communications Spokeswoman Melinda Meza. Ramirez says there is a lot of work ahead and he is up for the task to make a difference for all SUSD students.