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Massachusetts Paraeducator, Braillist Wins “Recognizing Inspiring School Employees” (RISE) Award, To Be Honored at Ceremony in Washington D.C.

Award winner will join school staff from across the nation for May 3 ceremony at U.S. Botanic Garden


WASHINGTON - May 03, 2017 -

Saul Ramos, a Massachusetts paraeducator and NEA’s 2017 Education Support Professional (ESP) of the year, will be honored in Washington D.C. as one of the 2017 Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award winners. Five award-winners from across the country are being honored for making extraordinary and inspirational contributions in their schools and communities to promote quality education, foster positive learning environments, and ensure student success.

Ramos and the other award recipients will join guests including Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada and Congressman Pete Aguilar of California at a ceremony in Washington D.C. at the United States Botanic Garden on May 3.

“Saul is an outstanding example of an education support professional who works tirelessly to make great public schools for every student,” said NEA Vice President Becky Pringle. “He puts his students first and works to ensure that all of them have what they need to succeed.”

Ramos is a one-to-one paraeducator and braillist in Worcester Public Schools. The self-taught braillist currently serves at Burncoat High School transcribing school materials and classwork for visually impaired students into print or braille. An advocate for English Language Learners and special education students as well as the visually impaired, Ramos was also honored last year during a game at Fenway Park as the Massachusetts Teachers Association Red Sox “Most Valuable Educator”.

“When I first walked into a classroom 18 years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be recognized for the work I am so passionate about,” said Ramos, who works at Burncoat High School. “Having that first encounter with my first students, and seeing the difference I can make in their lives, made me realize that this is my mission in life.”

Ramos was named the 2017 National Education Association ESP of the Year during the awards banquet March 11 at the NEA Education Support Professionals Conference in Dallas, Texas. The annual award is NEA’s highest for education support professionals.

The National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions (NCCESEU), a coalition of state and national unions that together represent a million school support employees, gives the RISE award. The award highlights the individual contributions of school staff and recognizes the essential role that all education professionals play in cultivating students’ natural curiosity and desire to learn and strengtheningpublic schools.

There are more than 2.8 million classified education support employees in our nation’s public schools, colleges, and universities and they make up one-third of the public education workforce. They ensure students achieve at their highest levels. They keep students fed, emotionally and physically healthy and safe, engaged and connected to the larger school community, and provide instruction and support that leads to academic success.

  • Classified education support employees work in the following nine areas:
  • Child nutrition services
  • Clerical services
  • Custodial and maintenance services
  • Health and student services
  • Paraeducators (assisting with instruction, supervision, and other support)
  • Security services
  • Skilled trades
  • Technical services
  • Transportation services


To read more about Saul Ramos visit http://neatoday.org/2017/03/12/saul-ramos-esp-of-the-year/
For more information on ESP visit http://www.nea.org/home/1604.htm


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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

The National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions (NCCESEU) is a coalition of state and national unions that together represent a million school support employees, including clerical and administrative staff, custodians, food service workers, health and student services workers, paraeducators, technology services employees, transportation workers, and security and skilled trades staff.

CONTACT: Celeste Fernandez Busser  202-822-7823, Cfbusser@nea.org