Salvador Ramirez, Program Director

What do you enjoy most about coming to school every day?

The daily experience is what keeps me here. You would think that after 22 years here, I wouldn’t have anything surprise me, but that’s not the case. Over my career here at Leeway, I’ve worked as an aide, driver, substitute teacher, teacher and as of this year, the school’s program director. Performing each of these roles provided me with an infinite number of unique experiences. Part of prepping to become an effective teacher begins at the University, but the process of experiencing at the job and learning day by day is what make you a better teacher. As the new Program Director, the culmination of experiences over my career will make me an effective confident support person that will provide the best advice and guidance to our new aides and teachers. So. What do I enjoy about working here? All the new memorable experiences that are soon to come.

Can you give an example of a ‘Little Victory’ you’ve seen a student achieve at Leeway School?

To choose one memorable little victory is tough. I’ve had the opportunity to witness many small accomplishments. Besides accomplishing academic goals, those I find the most rewarding are the social emotional and behavior goals. One that comes to mind is a student in my class for over 3 years. He grew up in a difficult part of town. He grew up in a home where being part of a gang and drugs were the norm. When he was in my class that first year, drugs and gang fights where part of his daily routine. Over the years, I witnessed a change is his way of thinking. He began to value success in school. He turned it around, just enough to complete high school and obtain a high school diploma. He graduated and went off into the world. Years later he came back to thank us for the support and patience we had with him. He told us he opened a tire sales and repair shop, met a girl and had 2 daughters. His story is one of many small victories that I feel privileged to have been a part of and that make me feel that what I’m doing is extremely important.

What's something important that you want people to know about Leeway?

Leeway has been around for nearly 35 years. The administrative team has been here for over 20 years. A couple of our teachers are new, but in the past those who’ve worked here stay for many years and those who’ve left say many wonderful comments about the school. The atmosphere here is supportive. The amount that is required our staff can be stressful, so making new employees feel that they’re can ask for help is important. The school aims to provide its staff with as much transparency and open communication as possible. Leeway encourages employees to express their concerns and the administrators take the time to consider and will value their input. The staff will assist each other during training and make themselves available to help their coworkers. Above all, the support from the entire team is what keeps the school going. There is a sense of unity here. Leeway strives to make every employee feel appreciated and supported.

Can you describe something special about your team and the school?

The team here at Leeway is a special one. Many of our employees have worked here for more than 5 years. They value and take pride in the school. There is a family atmosphere here. Being that Leeway is a small school the staff can get to know each other and build positive mentoring bonds with their students. Students here are familiar with staff both inside and outside of their rooms. The aides are more than willing to run lessons, help-out in their own room and throughout campus. The behavior department is supportive and readily available. The transportation department gets the students to and from school safely and as quickly as possible. The physical education department provides the students opportunities to participate in competitive sports leagues that build sportsmanship skills, confidence and pride in themselves when playing against other non-public schools. Leeway provides its students with connections to outside agencies for post high school transition. The therapist will go above and beyond to lend an ear to those in crisis. To summarize it, the staff make the students feel safe, important and always keep their best interest the priority.