A native New Yorker, Julie Ramirez grew up in the City’s public school system. For high school, she went to the Townsend Harris Public School in Flushing, an experience she credits with sparking an interest in and admiration for public education. Now, she’s running for Princeton school board.
“I feel like my view of public education has been strongly influenced by my experiences as a child in New York City public schools,” Ramirez said.
Citing diversity and the observation that most of her peers in high school were first-generation Americans, Ramirez expressed her view of education as a means of “giving everybody a common platform.”
After high school, she completed her undergraduate education at Tufts University and pursued a graduate degree at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. There, she developed an interest in investment banking, a career that she would ultimately pursue for more than twenty years.
Having worked briefly at Paribas and a subsidiary of Banker’s Trust, Ramirez moved to Goldman Sachs. As a project manager, she worked chiefly in institutional asset management and private wealth management. After eighteen years at Goldman Sachs, Ramirez took a job at the University in the Office of Finance and Treasury in the fall 2016. From her office at Carnegie Center — just a few minutes from the University — Ramirez works on large-scale initiatives of various kinds.
She also volunteers with many charitable organizations. In particular, she has been involved with a New York offshoot of the Chicago-based epilepsy research organization CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy). For the past fourteen years, she has also volunteered at the Special Olympics. Ramirez’s late brother grew up with epilepsy, she said , and was himself a Special Olympics athlete.
“I saw the impact that that had on him,” she said. “When I moved to New Jersey, I started volunteering with Special Olympics … and got my kids involved with volunteering as well.”
With four children in Princeton Public Schools, Ramirez wishes to serve the community as a member of the school board.
“When I worked at Goldman Sachs, I didn’t have the time to give back to the community," she said. “Now that I’m working nearby, I felt like I had the time and energy to devote to the community, and I’m very passionate about public education. I’m very invested in the schools.”
Ramirez is unique in that she has chosen not to campaign on a series of concrete proposals.
“I think what differentiates me from some of the other candidates is that I’m not running with a specific platform, but running more broadly to make sure that the school board is making reasonable, responsible decisions … that take into account all of the students,” she said.
Ramirez believes that her quantitative skills are her strongest asset. Emphasizing the need for data-driven decision making, Ramirez cited her “results-oriented mindset” as something unique that she would bring to the board.
"I don’t think anecdotal information is enough for the big decisions that [the Board is] making,” she said.
As to how this might play into the work of the board, Ms. Ramirez expressed support for publicizing metrics that gauge where schools are doing well and where they might improve. In particular, Ramirez voiced support for a “dashboard of information that cuts across different facets of the school” which could be used to “help gauge the health of the school district.”
Along with her strong quantitative skills, Ramirez cited her ability to successfully collaborate as a quality that qualifies her well for the school board.
“Both Goldman Sachs and Princeton are collaborative places,” she said. “You can’t survive if you’re not collaborative [and] I think I’ve learned over the past twenty or so years that in order to get things done, you need to be able to work with a lot of different parties.”
Ramirez — along with the five other candidates all who have also been interviewed by the ‘Prince’ — will appear on the ballot on Nov. 7.