LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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David Ramirez

Position: Eighth Grade Math Teacher
School: Urban Promise Academy
School District: Oakland Unified School District
City, State: Oakland, CA

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David Ramirez was nominated by his principal, Claire Fisher.

Mr. Ramirez is one of the strongest math teachers around! He helps students accomplish goals beyond what they thought they could accomplish. He consistently pushes his students to believe in themselves as mathematicians.

"Many of our students have struggled with Math in the past, and come to the 8th grade with a mindset that they 'can't do math,'" said Fisher. "Mr. Ramirez uses a variety of instructional strategies to help students reassess their own limits."

One example of his techniques are the mindfulness strategies he uses to help students center themselves. Once a week, students begin the class by participating in a short meditation activity that helps them change their negative self talk to positive. His classroom feels calm and peaceful. His students often find new confidence in their academic abilities, and are willing to take risks because of the positive class culture Mr. Ramirez sets.

Mr. Ramirez sets his class up so that students work together to master the difficult math problems they take on in 8th grade.

"If you walked into his classroom, you would see students at tables tutoring each other as successfully as any teacher. He strategically trains students in how to teach each other, which promotes their self confidence, and helps them deepen their own knowledge of the math. His classroom is truely student centered," Fisher said.

Mr. Ramirez also builds deep, trusting relationships with students.

"We had a student last year who was struggling with attendance and depression. We switched them into Mr. Ramirez's advisory class. Slowly, this young man began to improve his attendance, and his self worth. He thanked Mr. Ramirez at the end of the year for helping him believe in himself. We are truely grateful to be able to work with such a strong leader," Fisher said.



Comments (20)


Hector Cueva Posted 13 days ago

Mr.Ramirez is a great teacher. His love and passion for teaching is shown when giving a lesson to his students. Not only does he accomplish his goals however he goes above and beyond to make sure that his students receive the best education possible. Mr. Ramirez has impacted my life and taught me how to be an independent young man. For these reasons I very strongly believe that David Ramirez should recive the life changer of the year.

Sandra Payne Posted 2 months ago

David is a an awesome teacher. He does such a great job teaching math to our students. David pushes students out of their comfort zone academically and personally. He wants students to work and live at their highest potential; he believes in them. He has created a learning environment where students are supported. He gives his free time after school to tutor students in areas where they are currently struggling. He is driven by data to create relevant and engaging lessons. Overall, David is an exceptional teacher and students are fortunate to have him in their corner.

Elizabeth Eisenberg Posted 2 months ago

David Ramirez is an outstanding educator who goes above and beyond expectations to meet the needs of his students and support his colleagues. His knowledge, experience and compassion all combine to create a classroom where students feel welcome, engaged and challenged. In addition, he uses those assets to create and maintain relationships with his fellow educators, both as a mentor to newer teachers and collaborator with more seasoned veterans. He is an example and inspiration to all!

Ray Takanashi Posted 2 months ago

David Ramirez is an inspiration. Since my first day working for Ramirez, I have aspired to be as effective of an educator as he. His leadership, accountability, dedication, and hope is infectious in any environment he is in. Students know he is there for them and the thought of disappointing him is terrifying. His expectations are hard to meet, but his care and attention is always available. Students, staff, and the community are blessed to have a strong and determined advocate for quality public education like David Ramirez!

Terrence Riley Posted 3 months ago

David is an incredible educator and advocate for students. In addition to being a tremendous teacher at UPA, he is also an outstanding Site Director for Aim High, using his summers to continue the educational advancement for students in his community. He is a strong leader, who leads by example not only for his students, but his staff and colleagues as well. I am so proud to know him, to be able to work with him, and to witness the impact that he has in the city of Oakland day after day.

Jeffrey Hilliard Posted 3 months ago

I've know David Ramirez his entire teaching career, and I can say with completely honestly that I haven't met a more dedicated and devoted educator in my 20yrs in OUSD. David Ramirez is the kind of teacher who will ALWAYS Step up and Go the extra mile for his students and colleagues. He not only sacrifices and gives tirelessly of himself... But he also encourages and inspires everyone he comes in contact with to believe unconditionally in themselves, and excell towards their personal aspirations and dreams. I am and have ALWAYS been proud to know and have worked with David Ramirez in the first years of his teaching career. And I continue to be proud of and for this great and inspirational educator as his years of devote service to the children and community of Oakland flourishes forward. Sincerely, Jeff Hilliard OUSD PDgo! Team

Armenthia Ford Posted 3 months ago

With all the many hats that he wears, David is remarkable! He’s about social justice and wants all the youth to be educated and confident in themselves. David had been a great role model, inspiration, boss, friend and teacher. This list could go on forever, but OUSD and Oakland youth are extremely lucky to have Mr.Ramirez on their team! To know him is to love him, and if you can learn from him take advantage. Congratulations and cheers to more greatness!

Rhoda Daclison Posted 3 months ago

The world needs more teachers like Mr. Ramirez. He has inspired thousands of students over the years and instills the much needed self-confidence kids carry with them into adulthood. We all know teaching isn’t easy. Teaching in an urban environment surrounded by a unique set of sociological factors can be incredibly challenging. The professionalism and empathy in which Mr. Ramirez conducts himself are admirable. Simply put, the passion and commitment Mr. Ramirez demonstrates are true testaments to what an effective educator should be in this day and age.

Michelle Capobres Posted 3 months ago

David Ramirez has been a Site Director at Aim High's UPA site for the past four summers. His commitment to educating students year-round exemplifies his dedication his students' academic and emotional growth and well-being. He has high expectations for his students and provides them with the support and guidance necessary for them to reach their goals. In addition to supporting students, David also hires, trains, and mentors dozens of young teachers. He has inspired young people from the community to become educators, and he has helped many new teachers grow. He is an exemplary role model for students and teachers, alike. His dedication to the education of his students, as well as the education profession, has reached and will continue to reach far beyond his classroom.

Alec Lee Posted 3 months ago

In addition to being an outstanding teacher at UPA, David is also the Director of the Aim High summer program at UPA (he has held that position for the last four years). He is an outstanding director and leader. He hires and mentors an outstanding faculty every summer; he recruits students who will benefit from Aim High; he sets a high-standard for excellence and quality. Additionally, he realizes summer is a time to be different so David strongly encourages innovation and collaboration among teachers. David creates a culture of fun and appreciation at the Aim High/UPA campus. Students and teachers greatly admire and respect him. David is one of our finest campus directors. This year, Aim High received the Excellence Award from the National Summer Learning Association. David participated in the 2nd round interview and added wisdom and insight to the conversation. Without David, Aim High would not have received this prestigious honor. We consider David an Aim High superstar.

Yvette Renteria Posted 3 months ago

David Ramirez is a phenomenal educator. He makes magic happen inside and outside of the classroom. He has an ability to understand the successful path for all of his students and relentlessly goes above and beyond to support them in achieving their goals and positive outcomes. He builds strong relationships with the families and school community and brings joy to learning. I am lucky to have worked with David in the past. He is a model educator!

Julia Lehman Posted 3 months ago

David Ramirez is an unbelievable educator. He holds incredibly high expectations for his students and they rise to the occasion because of the support he gives them. His students love and respect him and he motivates them to work hard every day. He goes above and beyond for his students consistently and inspires them to do the same.

Dennis Guikema Posted 3 months ago

David Ramirez holds a deep belief in every student's potential, and he provides the support the support and encouragement for them to achieve it. HIs magic in the classroom is something he generously shares with all of his colleagues.

Mary Ellen Bayardo Posted 3 months ago

David, It is such an honor to work with you! You have given so much of yourself to our UPA community and I am so grateful to you. You are an amazing teacher/facilitator and you continue to expect the best from our students. Thank you for your passion, hard work and high expectations. You continue to touch and change lives every day.

Mark Triplett Posted 3 months ago

David Ramirez is an outstanding educator who holds all students to a very high standard, while simultaneously building a strong classroom culture of support, humor, and hard work. David empowers students to reach their full potential and makes learning accessible and engaging to students who are struggling, as well as students who are excelling. His class is vibrant and fun, and he gets amazing results with his students. I think he is a terrific choice for this award.

Tierre Mesa Posted 3 months ago

David Ramirez is an amazing math teacher who builds motivating, positive relationships with his students while holding high expectations for their academic success. He facilitates personalized and self-driven learning in a highly structured and supportive classroom environment. His leadership in the school community is outstanding; writing social-emotional learning curriculum for our 7th and 8th graders, serving on our school culture team, acting as math department chair and planning/organizing multiple grade level camping and overnight trips. Mr. Ramirez is outstanding and we are so lucky to have him as a teacher at our school!

David Conner Posted 3 months ago

Mr. Ramirez provides rigorous yet thoughtfully individualized instruction for his students, inspiring them to believe in themselves and to engage in productive struggle. He expects the best of his students and supports them effectively to meet these demands. Mr. Ramirez understands that school is not just about classwork, he teaches students about their social emotional needs as well by engaging them in weekly mindfulness practices. He also knows how important nature is to relieving stress and developing students' full potential. David facilitates two of the three outdoor experiential education opportunities that take our students to inspiring locations such as Pt. Reyes National Seashore and Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mr. Ramirez is an all-around asset to Urban Promise Academy and the community at large.

Terrance J Posted 3 months ago

Best kind of mentor. His reach transcends color lines and any other known barriers.

Lisa Hiltbrand Posted 3 months ago

David Ramirez is a remarkable teacher, and I feel truly fortunate to be able to work with him and learn from him. I cannot count the number of students who come back to see me to tell me how much they love his class and feel much stronger as math students with him. They tell me, "He's strict, but it's because he really cares about us and wants us to do well". David is a leader outside of his classroom as well. He is on our Leadership Team, and is the chair of our Math Department, supporting all of the math teachers. He facilitates our Student Government, and is the lead for our 8th grade camping trip. He is our union site rep as well. Although I am a 6th grade English teacher, David is always willing to support me, whether it's being a buddy room for me, helping me with family conference schedules, or just being someone I know I can talk to on a rough day. I am grateful every day that I get to work with David Ramirez, and so happy that our students get to have him as their math teacher in 8th grade.

JULIA IBARRA Posted 3 months ago

David is one of the strongest math teachers I have ever met. During my first years of teaching I was able to learn a lot of strategies from him. He continues to hold high standards for his students and encourages them to struggle productively. He is a en extremely hard worker and has been able to help many students at UPA as well as hold different leadership positions at our school. .