Ramona Arreguin de Rosales
Ramona de Rosales has been an advocate, organizer and educator in the Latino community throughout her adult life – culminating in her being a co-founder and founding director of Academia Cesar Chavez Charter School.
As an advocate, she fought for years to have Latino culture and language be part of every classroom in the St. Paul School District. In a 2002 Minnesota Public Radio interview Ramona state, “It just didn’t work, I mean they just were not real receptive. Families were asking for another option and another choice, because the schools that they’d been sending their children to all these years were failing them.”
So in 1999, Ramona and a dedicated group of people and organizations – including the National Council of LaRaza, Center for School Change, MACS, Community of Peace Charter School and several faculty members from the University of St. Thomas organized themselves and put together a proposal for a charter school to be named Academia Cesar Chavez.
In the fall of 2001, Academia Cesar Chavez opened its doors to students as a dual immersion school on the East Side of St. Paul with Ramona as the school’s Executive Director.
In 2002, U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige visited the school and highlighted the school’s innovative approach – bilingual instruction, and Latino culture and history being included throughout the curriculum. Anthony Colon, who at the time was vice president of LaRaza’s Center for Educational Excellence, cited Academia Cesar Chavez as the type of charter school LaRaza hoped would open across the country.
For the next fifteen years Ramona served as the school’s director overseeing the ongoing growth of the school’s enrollment, a move to a new location, a Pre-K program, the implementation of a parent education program, and eventually the establishment of an affiliated building corporation that purchased a building for the school. When she retired, she took on the task of overseeing an addition to the school building.
Throughout her years as the Director of the School she continued to be involved in bilingual education across the country, and as an advocate for education in the Latino community for all ages.
Ramona, you are a Minnesota Charter School Pioneer who helped “Unleash Education from Convention” as the founder and first director of Academia Cesar Chavez, but more importantly for being an advocate, organizer and educator of Latino students in Minnesota.