Ramback graduated from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi with a degree in bilingual education and moved to Austin on a whim to explore what she called “the big city.”
She was drawn to bilingual education as a way of honoring her Mexican American culture and helping her students do the same. “As Mexican American people or as bilingual people, sometimes you step away from who you are because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do. And I’ve learned through my life that, when you do that, you give away part of yourself. And I don’t want kids to ever have to do that.”
She interviewed for positions at two different campuses in Georgetown ISD. One of them was Frost Elementary school. The school leader was a first-year principal named Alma Guzman Molleur. “I remember walking into her office and she reminded me of my sister, Ruth, and that endeared me immediately.” She got the job and Molleur became her mentor.
Ramback says she admired Molleur’s fearlessness and strong sense of self as a leader. “I don’t know that she knew that and that I could see that? I don’t know that I’ve ever told her that because she’s still in my life today. I watched her become one of the most authentic people I have ever known.”
When Ramback became an assistant principal and later a principal, she continued to learn from Molleur’s leadership and counsel. In 2014, Molleur encouraged Ramback to apply to attend the Harvard Leadership Institutes through the Raising School Leaders program, previously led by the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation and now part of the Charles Butt Foundation. She was accepted and Ramback joined Molleur as part of the Raise Your Hand Texas alumni network. Ramback continued to dig deeper into leadership development opportunities, and later principal advocacy.
Ramback reflects how, as she moved into formal leadership roles, she felt the need to look and act a certain part. She traded in her colorful earrings and blouses for neutrals and dark tones. Without realizing it, she was suppressing pieces of her Mexican American identity to fit a certain idea of what leadership looks like.
“In my mind, I knew that I should be who I was and be my authentic self, but my fear and those little voices in your head, I tried to be somebody else. That’s hard for me to admit because I know that was not the best thing to do, but it was what I thought I needed to do.”
Living through Winter Storm Uri and the COVID-19 pandemic reawakened many of Ramback’s childhood memories and caused deep reflection on who she is and the impact she hopes to make. She committed to herself and her community to recover the pieces of her identity she had shed. She wanted to fully display her authentic self and showcase where she came from.
At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, Ramback felt closer to her students and faculty for having reconnected with her roots and sharing her story openly.
“The last year and a half has been the hardest in my career in many ways, but I wouldn’t change it because it helped me grow as a leader and as a person in such profound ways that I would go through it again if it meant that I would be a better leader and a better person moving forward.”