Melito Ramirez named 2020 Washington Classified School Employee of the Year
Walla Walla High School Intervention Specialist Melito Ramirez has dedicated the past four decades working professionally to support students and families and was honored for his career being named the 2020 Washington Classified School Employee of the Year.
2020 Washington Classified School Employee of the Year Melito Ramirez has spent the past 12 years as an Intervention Specialist for Walla Walla Public Schools. As a child Ramirez grew up in a migrant family traveling from Texas to California, Washington and other western states seeking agricultural employment. He began his career in the College Place School District in 1980 working to improve communication and support to migrant families living in the area. In his current role as an Intervention Specialist, Ramirez works with students facing social-emotional barriers, including depression, social and emotional concerns, substance addiction and poverty. He works to support these students by building relationships, keeping communication flowing between students, their family and their teachers, and providing support to students who need help working toward graduation.
"Melito models, through belief and action, our district's core commitments around equity, access and engagement,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “He is a mentor and role model for so many students, providing resources, support and encouragement."
Ramirez says his love for the community and helping people is what fuels his passion.
“I didn’t get into this line of work to get recognition or to make millions of dollars,” said Ramirez. “I get my inspiration by working with students and helping them realize their dreams. It’s satisfying seeing so many school district staff who I supported as they were growing up being successful in their careers and raising their own families.”
One of his former students is Marilyn Melgoza who was recently named Wa-Hi ASB Advisor and also works in the Equity and Dual Programs Department as an outreach specialist.
“Melito constantly reminded me the work we do is for our people and our communities,” said Melgoza. “He always encouraged me to be my authentic self, share my truth, share my story, and be a voice for others. The way students and families talk about the trust they have in Melito is powerful, it is inspiring, and it must be recognized!”
Ramirez is a gifted communicator who has a natural ability to identify and close gaps in his community. He specializes in working with migrant families with backgrounds similar to his own. He maintains a leadership position in an adult evening school that helps adults improve their English skills, learn first aid, gain citizenship and develop viticulture skills. He also gives back to the community by serving on the College Place School District Board of Directors.
“It is safe to say that Melito's influence has been instrumental in our district's ability to close the graduation and dropout gap for Latino students,” said Superintendent Smith. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this incredible recognition."
Ramirez will continue on to the national competition being the first Washington Classified School Employee of the Year to compete for the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) award, administered by the U.S. Department of Education.