Shining Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Zoie Ramirez
When a teacher is nominated by another teacher from another campus in the district, you know they are deserving of a Shining Staff Spotlight! Mr. Jake Lundgren from Northeastern recommended Mrs. Zoie Ramirez, saying, “Mrs. Zoie Ramirez brings such great energy to KR. She works tirelessly to plan fun and interactive lessons and creates genuine connections with her students!” Mrs. Ramirez's dedication and investment in her students are on another level of caring, and her students adore her!
Ramirez is a Springfield local and a 2018 graduate of Northeastern High School! She left Springfield to attend DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where she majored in English Literature and Secondary Education English. After returning to Springfield, she married her husband, Ryan, in July 2022. They have two Dachshunds, Mateo and Maybel, as their fur babies.
Ramirez has worked as an English Language Arts (ELA) Teacher at Kenton Ridge High School for the last two years. When asked to describe her teaching style, she said, “I believe that learning is fun & I try my best to instill that attitude in my classroom. I know that reading is not every high schooler's favorite activity, but I want my students to see how literature & mastering language can teach them crucial social-emotional skills and prepare them for post-secondary life.” Her students perceive her as energetic and positive, which is reflected in her teaching! When asked about Ramirez, one student said, “She is the best teacher I’ve ever had. She gave us the opportunity to work independently and did her best to bend her class so each individual could succeed in the way that was best for them.”
When she's not at school making a difference in her students' lives, you can find her lending a hand with the Kenton Ridge musicals, reading, hiking, or showing her support for local businesses. She especially enjoys visiting the ones where her students work so she can drop by and say hello! Life has come full circle for Ramirez! After returning to her hometown, she now guides young minds in the same district she once attended. The close-knit community fuels her passion for education, allowing her to build meaningful connections with each student. When asked what her favorite teaching experience has been so far, she said, “Overall, my favorite teaching experiences so far have been when I see students overcome an obstacle that they thought would hold them back forever. Whether it is finally understanding how to use a semicolon or getting on the stage when they are overcome by stage fright, I am moved by every student's breakthrough.” Her love and support for every student is admired among both students and staff.
We asked Ramirez for a couple of fun facts about herself, and she told us that she was in Student Government, plays three different instruments, and if she wasn’t an English teacher, she would be teaching music or drama! She emphasized the importance of the arts in children's development. She believes the arts have a unique and profound way of speaking to human nature! Ramirez’s advice to her students is that just because something is difficult, it doesn't mean it's impossible. It can be so easy to want to give up when something is not naturally easy, but learning is full of making mistakes and getting back up when you fall. How inspiring!
To finish out her interview, we asked if she had a quote she lives by, and she shared an excerpt from a poem called “Instructions for a Bad Day” by Shane Koyczan, saying, “Be forgiving. Living with the burden of anger is not living. Giving your focus to wrath will leave your entire self absent of what you need. Love and hate are beasts, and the one that grows is the one you feed. Be persistent. Be the weed growing through the cracks in the cement, beautiful – because it doesn’t know it’s not supposed to grow there."
In her short time at NELSD, Ramirez has created an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere within her classroom that students will appreciate throughout their school years! Thank you for all you do, Mrs. Ramirez!
Author: Teagan Coffman (KRHS ‘24), Communications Intern