Posted on September 24, 2021
Daryton Ramsey started off wanting to be a lawyer, but wound up going into education and has found success in the field.
Now executive director of student and school support for Ector County ISD, Ramsey was most recently director of accountability and continuous improvement at the Ventura County Office of Education in California.
Born in Okinawa, Japan, Ramsey grew up in Thompson, Ga., about two hours east of Atlanta.
His father was in the military and Ramsey was as well, serving six years in the Army. “I always tell people I grew up building little stick homes out of wood piles that were beside my neighbor. We did everything from killing hogs to farming,” Ramsey said.
He added that there was one high school in his town, two or three elementary schools and one middle school.
Ramsey went to Fort Valley State University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in political science. That’s when he went into the Army.
“I was a paralegal. I was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas,” he said. “… I went to grad school during that time and completed a dual master’s degree, so I have a master’s degree in business administration and I have a master’s degree in human resources development.”
When he studied criminal justice, his intent was to become a lawyer.
“I always wanted to study Constitutional law. … I came from a family where my mom was a seamstress. My dad was a bookbinder …,” Ramsey said.
“… And I saw a lot of things that happened, not only to me, but to my family and my friends that I thought, ‘That’s super unfair, right?’ … When you live in those experiences, you recognize that things are unfair, but you don’t have the power to fight. Sometimes power just means the luxury of time,” Ramsey said.
He added that his parents worked 12-16 hour days, so even if they felt like something was unfair they had to pick their battles. Ramsey said he wanted to fight, but he found out he owed $27,000 for school.
“… I knew my parents didn’t have that money, so there was no going to law school after undergraduate. I went into the Army because they were going to repay my student loans. … After I got out of the Army, we were in El Paso, which didn’t have a law school so I just decided to go into teaching. But I still feel like this profession allows me to fight for the rights and empower the communities where I come from, just in a different way.”
Ramsey is also involved in school choice, or magnet schools.In his job at ECISD, Ramsey and his team focus on registration, enrollment and admissions, along with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) and post secondary education, among other items.
“… We’re doing some work entitled System of Great Schools. That’s a part of our school choice work, but it’s designed to either bring in partners to support the school district in the work we’re doing with our students in our communities and in developing those schools. Sometimes that means a charter school and then there’s other innovation work that we do where we may be bringing new programs to a school, such as blended learning, that we’re using at some of our schools to support … the academic and social-emotional development of our students at that school …,” Ramsey said.
With the To and Through Program, they want to partner with the community.
“… We have UTPB. We have Odessa College. We have all these things that are available. But it also means we have to figure out not just how, from an educational, academic standpoint, how do we support people, but housing; food. Those are things that if the kid doesn’t have food to eat, they’re probably going to go find a job so that they can eat. And depending on the cultural background, I know my family, I had to help my family out by working. And so when a child is working 20-40 hours a week and then we’re saying go to school also, that’s a load to carry.”
“… We have to figure out is there a way that we can subsidize some of that, and it doesn’t always have to be funding. It can be partnerships with other folks. Sometimes it’s mentoring. It shows up in many forms. But the goal, again, is how do we help our kids navigate the K through 12 experience successfully, but also beyond the K through 12 experience … because ultimately, those kids become adults and they become our community members. They are voters; they become our board members; they become our journalists; all of those things. And so as much as possible, we’re really working to make that happen for our kids and communities,” he said.
ECISD Assistant Superintendent of Student and School Support Alicia Syverson is pleased to have Ramsey on board.
“We are excited to have him join the team. He brings experience and expertise in areas directly aligned to the work in our Strategic Plan,” Syverson said in a text message.
Ramsey is married to Midland ISD Superintendent Angelica Ramsey.
There is a quote from Frederick Augustus Douglas that Ramsey concluded with.
“… He says that it’s easier to build strong children than to rebuild broken adults. And the reason I love that quote, and I kind of live by that is because that’s really what I think we’re doing here at ECISD …,” Ramsey said.