“We are of course very sad that Rosa will be leaving us,” said Island School Board Chair Margo Freeman, “but we have been discussing this eventuality for some time now and we are extremely grateful for all that Rosa has done for this wonderful School during her time here, and we wish her nothing but the best in her much-deserved retirement.”
Freeman stated that a search committee to identify and hire a new Head of School will be co-chaired by school board members Mary Keevil and Skip Branin. Ramos indicated that she will remain at the helm of the School until a new Head of School is named.
“Mary Keevil and Skip Branin both have extensive experience in independent school governance and administration,” Freeman said, “and will do an outstanding job of forming a committee and bringing new leadership to The Island School. It is a deserving tribute to Rosa and her great contributions to the school that she leaves an institution that is a very attractive opportunity for some of the nation’s most promising administrators.”
Ramos arrived at The Island School in the summer of 2006 at the beginning of the school’s sixth year, a time when the future of the school, then nestled within two small rooms in the community center, was still far from certain.
“My time at The Island School has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me,” said Ramos in a prepared statement, “and I feel very honored and privileged to have worked with such dedicated faculty, staff, board members and volunteers. I most especially thank the Boca Grande Community for its generosity and support throughout the past six years.”
As The Island School was the first charter school in Lee County, Ramos stablished a strong relationship between the school and the Lee County School District.
Building upon the educational philosophy and vision of the school’s founding documents, Ramos raised awareness about the Teaching for Understanding Instructional Model, developed at Harvard University, that guides the school’s rigorous curriculum.
Ramos’ years at The Island School were marked by a number of significant milestones, including the completion of the school’s state-of-the-art school building, a doubling of the school’s enrollment to a capacity of 58 students, the creation of The Island School Foundation and the establishment of a $4 million endowment fund to ensure the perpetual financial viability of the school.
She implemented CHILD (Changing How Instruction for Learning is Delivered), a research-based teaching and learning system that is directly related to the school’s philosophy of developing curriculum centered around the students’ needs while providing a network of instructors and support personnel for The Island School teachers.
“Rosa has been absolutely indispensable with regard to our dealings with Lee County,” said current Board Chair Carol Stewart. “Her expertise and friendly manner, to say nothing of her patience, have been critical in a number of circumstances, particularly in our ten-year-re-chartering effort in 2010.”
Michael Moffat, who served on the search committee in 2006 and became board president in 2007 said, “All newly-formed schools go through very tumultuous times at the beginning and The Island School was no exception. Rosa provided a very strong and secure anchorage in those stormy seas.”
Bayne Stevenson, the chairman of The Island School Foundation, said that Ramos’ accomplishments aided the board in going out and raising funds in support of the future of the school.
“The incredible opportunities that she has so expertly helped to create for the children of Boca Grande provide the primary reason why so many in the community have stepped forward to help the school,” he said.
At present, Ramos, who resides in Rotonda, has no plans to leave the area. She anticipates that she will maintain an ongoing presence at the school.
“The love I have for this special school and all the children and families that are involved with it will not diminish,” said Ramos. “This is my ‘baby’ and I look forward to keeping in touch, volunteering in the classrooms and doing anything that I can possibly do to help both in the transition to new leadership and the continued prosperity of this very special place.”
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