Occupation: Head of School of BASIS Baton Rouge–Materra, Educator
Children: Mia, 10, and Emilio, 8
Hobbies: Playing tennis, cooking, and movie nights
Roberto Ramirez comes from a family of educators, however, it wasn’t until he moved to the states that he decided to pursue a career in education as well. He quickly fell in love with it, and three years ago, BASIS asked him to open the first BASIS right here in Baton Rouge. After visiting Baton Rouge and experiencing all it has to offer, Roberto jumped at the opportunity and he and his family moved here from Arizona. As the Head of School of BASIS Baton Rouge–Materra, Roberto has a packed schedule every day, but he strives to live a life that is always full of balance, always making sure to prioritize family first and encouraging other educators to do the same.
How would you describe raising your children?
Roberto: It’s the most important thing that I am doing as an adult right now. I think kids learn by seeing and by hearing, so we try to talk a lot and make them a part of the decisions at their level. We also have clear expectations with them. We ask them to eat healthy, we limit screen time. They’re responsible students, but we balance it with the fun things.
What are some things you like to do as a family?
Roberto: We love going on bike rides and walking our dog. We are getting into fishing. We’re terrible at it, but being here in Louisiana, we’re getting into the outdoors. We have a reading room at home, so we spend time there and we take turns reading to each other. Traveling is a family favorite, obviously COVID has limited that, but whenever we can, we love to get on a plane and travel.
What’s the greatest thing about being a dad?
Roberto: Everything. When I see that my kids look up to me, it fills my heart. It tells me that I’m doing an okay job as a parent. Also, seeing how they treat each other. We’re doing something right and establishing good values, so that they become good, loving people. That’s one of the most fulfilling things, seeing who they’re becoming.
How has parenthood changed you?
Roberto: Before you have kids, it’s all about you and your partner, and you’re thinking more about you. Having kids changes all of that, and it becomes, “Are my kids okay?” “Am I doing the right thing for them?” I think the whole approach of life changes because they become the center and they add that pressure for you to lead the way appropriately because they’re looking up to you.
What has been your biggest challenge in parenting during the pandemic?
Roberto: The balance of explaining to them how serious and impactful this pandemic has been in the world without alarming them. Also, reminding them that things will be fine and people are resilient and we will overcome this challenge.
What do you love most about your job?
Roberto: It’s very rewarding and everyday is different. Everyday leaves you feeling fulfilled. Working with kids is the perfect thing because they’re genuine, caring, and all love. Just being surrounded by that is a gift.
As an educator, what were some of the biggest challenges in 2020?
Roberto: So many. When we decided to close the school and switch our platform within a week from in person to online, that created a lot of challenges, but it was rewarding to see the team adapt so quickly. It’s a huge challenge because you are responsible for so many kids and adults and making sure everything is safe for them to return. It’s an incredible responsibility and I don’t take it lightly.
What has your job taught you about parenting?
Roberto: We all want the best for our kids. As parents, your kids are the most valuable treasure you possess. You want to provide them with the best opportunities and environment, so whenever I come into work, I take that approach. I’m like, “Okay, if I was a parent and I didn’t have control of this school, would I be okay placing my child in this school?” That’s my mantra. I would always want to give my students the best as I would give my own kids.
How do you relax?
Roberto: Balance is important. I tell that to new teachers or whenever I am mentoring a director or school leader. I do my best every single day to find time for myself and my family. If I am in a good place mentally and physically, the better I can serve everybody else. Making time to play tennis is a priority, making time to cuddle with my family on the couch is a priority, making time for science experiments with my kids is a priority.
What’s your favorite date night with your wife?
Roberto: It doesn’t have to be a particular something, just time to ourselves.
What do you hope to instill in your children?
Roberto: The value of education. I hope they are lifelong learners and continue to be curious about learning everyday. I hope that they are inclusive, loving individuals and that they will care about our world.
Which family members are your greatest role models?
Roberto: Both of my parents. My dad, I recently lost him, so I think about him a lot. He was a very honest man, hardworking. He was big about being ethical. My mom worked two jobs while we were growing up. So, just the work ethic they had has made a mark on me.
Any advice for other parents?
Roberto: Communication is very important. Kids need a solid nucleus to grow in and the more support and love parents give to kids, the better they’ll be. Even if your family is going through a rough patch, talk it out, try to communicate, and don’t lose your patience.
Before I go out, I always check to make sure I have…
my cell phone.
In my fridge, you will always find…
Mexican and Seafood.
Favorite movie growing up…
Music I’m loving…
Boleros, Mexican ballads.
I’m always laughing at…
my own jokes.
My favorite television show is…
The Brady Bunch and The Addams Family. My wife just introduced us to them.