FORT MYERS, Fla. — Leaders of the Lee County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have thrown their support to one of the two final candidates under consideration for the top job at the county school district.
In a letter dated January 30 and signed by Lee NAACP President James Muwakkil, Political Action Chair Jacquelyn McMiller, and Economic Development Chair Mike Love, the group officially endorses Michael Ramirez.
They believe Ramirez will be able to best represent the diversity within the district and can improve matters involving proper representation throughout the area.
The NAACP statement reads as follows:
Latino and African Americans have often complained to the NAACP regarding lack of representation or the ability to benefit from promotions or appointments. This is an opportunity for the Lee County School District to address this ongoing issue by hiring Mr. Ramirez as the next Lee County School District Superintendent.
Mr. Ramirez will be able to address the major issues that we face in the Lee County School District: the school-to-prison pipeline, in-school/out-of-school suspensions, certificates of completion rather than high school diplomas, and opportunities to be taught marketable trades, and minority recruitment. Mr. Ramirez will represent the diversity of the school district and should also work to diversify every area of the district where qualified applicants apply.
The NAACP does concede that the color of one’s skin should not be the sole reason for advancement, however, commitment to diversity and inclusion will yield equal opportunity for all. The NAACP believes that Mr. Ramirez presents these qualities.
Latino and African American students make up approximately 58% of the student population. Hiring Dr. Ramirez, the Lee County School District can make a historical impact for generations and for all children yet unborn.
Ramirez and fellow finalist Christopher Bernier spoke with school board members at a meet-and-greet held Monday. A final decision on who will lead the district is expected in the next few weeks.