CalSAC is proud to highlight Betty Ramirez and Kaleigh Soule from CalSAC's 2018 Leadership Development Institute 360°/365 fellowship. Betty and Kaleigh are leaders who have demonstrated unrivaled commitment to the field and drive for advanced leadership in the out-of-school time and early learning field.
Betty Ramirez oversees the San José Youth Commission for the City of San José. She first started her career with the City of San José as an Outreach Worker II in the Youth Employment Service program for underprivileged youth. She revamped the program to include a series of workshops she called PREP - Preparation, Resilience, Education, and Passion. The workshops and trainings equipped the young people with interpersonal skills and encouragement to achieve their goals. During that time, she recalls receiving a letter from a young man informing her that he was accepted to Santa Clara University. He wanted to inform her that, although he wanted to give up and just be another statistic, he remembered Bettys’ advice, and because of her advice and constant support and encouragement he achieved his goal of going back to school after overcoming some difficult obstacles in his life.
Betty’s continual support of young people is now seen through the San Jose Youth Commission. Her support and encouragement has enable high school students to see themselves as true leaders of not only tomorrow, but of today. Many such leaders have gone on to four-year universities and some now are fulfilling their dreams as policy makers in local government offices throughout the country.
Through her work with the youth commission she has spread headed the first ever city-wide annual youth conference for the City of San José. Since its commencement ten years ago, the youth conference has had themes involving youth in community service to youth entrepreneurship, to youth in education, and environment. She has expanded the Youth Commission opportunity to all youth within the city by creating Youth Advisory Council’s groups in each city district. She also created the Youth Commission Summer internship program. Betty believes that by exposing youth to real world issues early in their life, youth will be better prepared to take on these issues and make the necessary changes to create a better future for us all.
Through her work with youth, Betty has been invited to speak to middle school students, high school students, and students in county-wide leadership programs. She also recently completed the CalSAC Training of Trainers program and is now a CalSAC Certified trainer for afterschool programs and agencies. She has conducted workshops for agencies such as the Boys and Girls Club, and Catholic Charities to name a few. She is also training afterschool agencies as part of the CalSAC Science Action Club and is working with agencies to bring STEM curriculum into their programs.
Besides all of that, Betty is an avid hiker and loves the outdoors. She is working towards achieving her personal goal of obtaining her degree in Theology. She loves to travel and do mission work in third world countries. Her mode in life is, love fully, laugh fully, and enjoy the journey of touching those near you deeply.
Kaleigh Soule has been working for the Poway Unified School District’s Extended Student Services for the past eight years. Kaleigh has always had a passion for working with students and enriching their lives. She always knew she wanted to work with children and figured this was a perfect place to start. What began as a great job through college, has turned into a career that she loves. Kaleigh started as an aide and has worked her way up through ESS. She has been a Supervisor for the last three years. In her role, every single day is a new adventure. She loves everything from playing soccer on the field with the students, working on staff trainings and even managing the site budget.
As a Supervisor, Kaleigh is able to create a safe, positive, and educational environment for the students in her program. In addition, she loves that she can help ease parent’s minds as they are busy working to support their families. Kaleigh loves the management aspect of her job and finds the staff interaction to be just as enriching as the interactions with children. In her role, she is able to support staff as young adults, as they begin their journey into adulthood. Kaleigh’s favorite part of her job is planning summer camp because she can really use her creativity in collaboration with her staff to make sure the kids enjoy their time. This summer, she has planned a “Kidchella” day. The day will be filled with student and staff performances, a flower crown making station, and food stations, to name a few.
Kaleigh received her Bachelor’s Degree from Arizona State University in Family and Human Development. In 2017, she was named “Classified Employee of the Year” for Turtleback Elementary School. Recently, Kaleigh received a promotion to a much larger ESS site and is now the Supervisor at Stone Ranch Elementary School. Their program consists of 35 staff members and 240 students. She feels this new and exciting position is a great step in her career.
Kaleigh continues to strive to improve herself so that she can be a better leader for all. She hopes to learn at least one new thing every single day. She attends conferences, such as the National After School Conference, and is part of committees through Poway Unified School District which are aimed towards professional development and growth for the staff and the ESS program as a whole. Kaleigh feels education is a very fluid field and she must stay abreast of current trends to provide the best care possible for the children and families in her program. In her free time, Kaleigh loves working out, reading and shopping. She also enjoys spending time with her family, boyfriend, friends, and her dog, Lulu.