Presidio High School welcomes new principal, Hevila Ramos

Principal Hevila Ramos in Presidio High School (Photo by Maisie Crow)

PRESIDIO – Summer break is over and Presidio High School students returned to school earlier this week. They were met with a few changes, including a new principal, Hevila Ramos.

Ms. Ramos, who hosted two meet and greets prior to the start of school, had the opportunity to meet some students over the summer. “I’ve met quite a few kids. They’ve come in to talk to me already.” They came in to ask a number of questions about what they could expect this upcoming school year, but one of the questions that kept coming up was whether or not Ramos planned on implementing a school uniform policy, “That was so funny,” she said laughing, “I just don’t know where they got that idea.”

Ramos confirmed that there will not be a uniform, but there will be expectations in terms of dress code which can be found on the district’s website, www.presidio-isd.net.

Ms. Ramos was born in El Paso and spent 21 years teaching at Canutillo High School, the same high school she attended as a student. Ramos believes former students becoming teachers at their school is an asset and hopes to see more of at Presidio High School. “We want to build our own. Right now, we have quite a few people that have come back so that they can support and grow those other kids coming in.”

For Ramos, teaching was a second career. She first worked as a medical technologist running labs in El Paso. She got her first taste of education working with students from the University of Texas at El Paso when they would pass through her lab during their rotations. She ultimately left her job and went back to school to get her masters from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Ramos then became a science teacher and head tennis coach at Canutillo High School. She was able to pull real-world examples from her days as a medical technologist into her lesson plans.

Ramos’ new role as principal at Presidio High School will be her first administrative job, but she said she is ready for it. “I saw the position available and thought that it kind of fit with what I am looking for,” said Ramos who was interested in moving to Presidio to be closer to her parents, who live on a ranch south of Ojinaga.

As she planned her move, people warned her that the summer heat would be a difficult adjustment, but Ramos brushed it off, as she had spent many summers in Presidio and Ojinaga bringing her children to the ranch for the summer.

Ramos intends to raise the academic standards at Presidio High School, “I really want to focus on the academic piece. I know Texas is big on athletics, but I really want to increase the academic expectation. Compete on the academic level.”

“I stress that they are student athletes not athlete students,” she said.

Looking at overall state scores, Ramos noted that the school does fairly well compared to other districts, “The state says we are passing, but are we happy with the bare minimum or do we really want them to rise to the next level? We want them to rise to that next level, not just add to that state minimum, but we really want them to rise to the mastery level. Truly get them college and career ready.”

Ramos acknowledged that scores have been good in math and science, but she said she really wants to increase other academic subject areas like history and English.

“I am bringing in world history because I think we need to be a little bit more global,” she said. It will be a course that’s required for incoming freshmen, but she is also asking seniors to take the class even though it will not be a requirement for them.

With things that are going on right now, especially in politics, Ramos wants her students to “look back and see what happened in the past and how those events shape and inform current and future events. Eventually they will be voters, and they need to reflect on history and what happened before and how that affects their future.”

Ramos also hopes to raise parental involvement at the school, but she made sure to say, “These kids are just so polite. They give you that yes ma’am and no ma’am. Even if it’s in Spanish, si señora, no señora. They introduce themselves; they take their cap off. Those are things that you don’t see in big cities, but here you can see that family involvement because they are that respectful.”

Ramos thinks the lack of parental involvement may stem from not having official parent-teacher conference night and not having a school marquee to post upcoming events closer to area businesses. She hopes to resolve both soon.

Parent-teacher conference night is already on the books and scheduled for November 6. Ramos’ reasoning for the November date: “The idea to have parent-teacher conference night in early November is to allow teachers enough time to get to know students and how they are doing in their classes, but also allow enough time before the end of the semester to correct grades should there be a problem.” At that point, Ramos says the teachers can give students and parents some strategies and interventions they can use to improve grades before the end of the semester.

Parents have an opportunity August 21 to learn more about their student’s schedule for the semester by modeling the students schedule that evening and visiting their classes.