Jennifer Ramacciotti from KIPP DC AIM Academy has been selected as the 2015 District of Columbia Teacher of the Year by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). This is a tremendous honor for a phenomenal KIPP DC teacher who truly models excellence inside and outside of the classroom.
Ms. Ramacciotti began her teaching career as a corps member with Teach for America in Philadelphia. She joined the KIPP DC team and family in July 2008 and served as a sixth grade math teacher for two years before being selected for KIPP’s school leadership pipeline and becoming a vice principal and instructional coach at the school. After three years as a school leader, including several months during which she served as principal while the school’s principal was out on maternity leave, she realized that her true passion was in the classroom and returned to her roots as a math teacher, preparing eighth grade students for excellence in rigorous high schools and beyond.
As she explains, “I missed the changes in kids’ faces when they made a connection or when they saw the result of their hard work. I needed to return to the classroom.”
With incredible attention to detail, data-driven instruction, and a relentless focus on growth, Ms. Ramacciotti and her students have produced excellent results. On last year’s DC CAS, 94% of her students scored proficient or advanced. Even more impressive, 64% of her students scored advanced.
Ms. Ramacciotti is also known for the amazing relationships and trust that she builds with her students. As her colleague Caity Schneeman explains, “Jen was great at being a vice principal and could have easily gone on to become a principal. However, Jen’s dedication – the belief deep down in her core that teaching in the classroom is how you really change kids’ lives – would not let her be. She followed her instincts and went back into the classroom, which is the best decision she has ever made. Kids know when the adults in their lives are really in it for the right reasons and are really committed to their success. This is true of Jen Ramacciotti. Kids know – she gave up being a vice principal, she’s obsessed with math, she won’t let us fail. That, to me, is what makes a truly excellent teacher – if not just the adults know that you’re for real, but the kids do too.”
Outside of her classroom, Ms. Ramacciotti is an active participant in the larger AIM Academy community and the national KIPP network. Whether she is serving as the musical director for AIM’s school musical, supporting teachers across the country as the KIPP Share Eighth Grade Math Community Leader, or running alongside Girls on the Run participants in a 5K, she is always focused on growth and building the relationships that allow her to push herself, her students, and her colleagues to new levels of success.
As she explains, “Test results are not the only sign of student success. I want my students to grow as citizens of their city. I want them to be prepared to be active members of the community. I want them to have the character, the education, and the resources to be able to succeed in a very competitive society.”
Though Ms. Ramacciotti is a highly sought-after resource for the teachers at her school and at KIPP schools across the country, she is incredibly humble and quick to give credit to the students that she teaches: “I am not the change in the classroom. My students are. They have changed the trajectory of their lives by creating new opportunities and possibilities because of their academic achievements.”
Ms. Ramacciotti also embodies the growth mindset that she hopes to instill in her students: “Teaching is about growth. To become the best teacher you can be, you have to believe that growth is possible and necessary for ourselves and our kids. This award is a tremendous honor, but I know that I still have so much more to learn and so many ways that I can improve my instruction, my approach, and my relationships.”
We feel so lucky to have Ms. Ramacciotti on the KIPP DC team and thank her for her years of service and the many lives that she has impacted here in Washington, D.C.
Congratulations to her on this well-deserved recognition from the city!