There’s a new man at the helm of the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Superior. He’s no stranger to Superior.
Manuel Ramirez graduated in 1974 from Superior High School. He went on to college to become a teacher. He had obtained a job at the mine in Superior for two years and then went on to be a teacher at Paradise Valley for 32 ½ years. He never taught at another district. After he retired from Paradise Valley he decided to move back to Superior and now lives in the house in which he grew up.
After his retirement as a teacher, he worked as a mechanic for the Town of Superior for about a year. But education, it seems, is where Manuel’s heart is. When the principal position at JFK became available and he applied for the position. His current contract is for one year.
“I know the parents I grew up with but I don’t know a lot of the parents of the current youth,” he said. “When I talk to the current parents and find out who their parents are I am able to connect them to people I grew up with.”
Ramirez is looking at how the school can be improved, providing more activities to the kids and making it attractive for teachers and paraprofessionals. Like the state of Arizona, there is a shortage of teachers in Superior and Ramirez is hoping to change that.
“My motto for the school year is kids come first and we have to focus on why we are here,” he explained. “I hope to get the community involved in raising your kids and doing the best you can for them. It was done for me when I grew up here and we need to continue doing that. We need to bring in the clubs in the community and the Religious Coalition so that we can have our school become a community school. When we have things that are needed we have the ability to refer the parents to a group to get help with whatever is needed.”
He added, “My long term vision is to see if we can get a Boys and Girls Club here. How can we help the kids and how can we not lose focus on helping the kids. We need something all the kids can be involved in. Right now I think we are lacking in something that all the kids can be involved in. This will help the youth in the long run and when they get older. The teachers are here because they want to help make a difference in the lives of our youth. The big picture is to make a difference for all the kids. This process will take time but can be done. The other key is getting the parents and grandparents involved. I believe this can be done with focusing on the kids.”
Ramirez started a bicycle program earlier this year fixing up bicycles for the youth and would like to continue doing things like this. Along with some help he was able to fix up about 65 bicycles for the youth. The Superior Rotary Club has been helping clean up the library and putting it back together so it can again be used by the students at school.
The school is in desperate need of supplies such as pencil boxes, pens, #2 pencils, highlighters, post-its, crayons, pencil sharpeners, Kleenex, colored pencils, colored markers, dry erase markers, spiral notebooks, scissors, glue sticks, glue and 2 pocket folder (without metal fasteners). Donations will be greatly appreciated.
Ramirez is excited and thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the youth of the community. Congratulations to Mr. Ramirez and we wish him much success in his new role as Superior JFK Principal.