Washington-Lee Spanish teacher Wilson Ramirez has been named the 2018 Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year by the Hispanic Youth Foundation of Northern Virginia. The award honors an exemplary Hispanic classroom teacher from one of 12 school systems in Northern Virginia, who, like Mrs. de Sánchez, strives to improve the lives of children and their communities through education.
Victoria D. de Sanchez was a pioneering Hispanic educator in both North and Latin America in the mid-20th century, impacting countless teachers and millions of schoolchildren. After beginning her teaching career in the U.S in the 1930s, she led a decades-long and distinguished career as a U.S. Foreign Service Education Specialist in Central America, later became the highest ranking woman in the Alliance for Progress (the U.S. Foreign Aid Program in Latin America), influencing millions of students in six countries.
“I am very honored and grateful to receive the Victoria D. de Sanchez Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award,” said Ramirez. “I aspire to contribute positively to our profession and to inspire others to achieve great successes in their lives.”
Ramirez currently teaches Spanish for Fluent Speakers and IB Spanish. Ramirez holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy with minor in education from Saint Thomas University in Colombia, a Masters degree in Education and Human Development from Javeriana University in Colombia, a Masters in educational administration from Pamplona University in Colombia, and a ABD in education from the University of Barcelona, Spain.
Ramirez believes that every student can succeed in his class. “My aim as a teacher is to give my students the necessary motivation to bring them towards a level of independence where they can develop a deep desire to learn and be proficient in Spanish.”
As a native of Colombia, Ramirez tries to bring as much of his culture into the classroom as possible. For example, students are introduced to Colombian’s national beverage, coffee, and learn about the rituals around different ways to enjoy a cup of coffee, without cream or any artificial flavor. “For this reason, I have turned to technology to allow students to experience other aspects of my culture for themselves. I developed a lesson with several activities to let the students become responsible for their own education and interact with the Colombian culture via the internet. With less reliance on me, and more emphasis on group participation and collaboration, students discuss across the board and share personal opinions and come up with their own questions and conclusions.”
Technology is an important tool for Ramirez. “Technology is one of the most important and effective tools which I utilize in my classroom. I use this tool to aid in addressing students’ different learning styles to create a productive learning environment to increase student motivation. I encourage the use of technology in my classroom which enables students to participate with various resources available to them. I ensure equal access to technology by encouraging the use of personal devices and always making sure resources are available for those who do not have reliable access.”
Ramirez will be honored at Hispanic Youth Foundation of Northern Virginia’s annual award reception, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 30 at 6:00 p.m. at the Main House at Marymount University.