IDEA Walzem sets high expectations for every student and goes the extra mile to make sure every student realizes their own potential. Personalized learning, critical thinking skills, mastery of core subjects is our recipe for success.
Cristen Martens is a graduate of Texas State University at San Marcos with a B.B.A. in marketing and management. She also attended the University of Texas at San Antonio, receiving a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and would eventually return to her college alma mater to acquire her Superintendent certification.
Cristen has worked in the field of education for over 14 years, with 7 of those years serving as an instructional leader. She has led two turnaround Elementary campuses (Grades PK – 6) out of Year 2 Improvement Required status within one school year, along with receiving state Distinctions for Science and Closing the Achievement Gap. She joined IDEA in 2018, and at that time the campuses state rating increased from a C-rating to a B-rating. She leads the work of the Reading and Writing teams whose contributions increased outcomes for the campuses’ overall performance, with the 5th grade Reading scores being the highest in the history of Walzem Academy at 88% approaches, 45% meets and 21% masters. Mrs. Martens is dedicated to IDEA’s mission–for ALL scholars to go through and to college, and is ready, willing, and able to serve our scholars on this journey. IDEA Public Schools is fully confident that Mrs. Martens will continue to serve our scholars at Walzem Academy at the level of excellence that will drive the school to an ‘A” rating. Go Wolves!Continue Reading
Alicia Ramirez graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1998. She began her career in education over 18 years ago as a co-teacher for bilingual and special ed students and then a Family Service Specialist in a Head Start Program where she worked with underserved communities connecting families and children to educational resources that would help kick start their own educational journey.
Since then, Alicia has also taught for three years in an alternative school in the heart of Chicago where she then became Dean of Students and Director of College Counseling. In her tenure there Alicia was responsible for a retention and attendance increase of 25% and 10% respectively. Her leadership also led to a 30% increase in graduation rate and 40% increase in post-secondary placement. Her passion for education prompted her to return to school and obtain her Masters in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University in 2010. In 2013 Alicia was part of a lead design team that founded a social justice alternative charter school in the city of Chicago where she was a founding board member for five years. Alicia has also served as an elected school board member for her hometown elementary school district in Illinois. Alicia has served as Vice Principal for a Health Science Career Academy where her focus was to lead operations and career pathway programming Alicia started at IDEA Walzem in the Summer of 2015 as the Assistant Principal of Operations where she led the operations team to an average daily attendance increase of 1.35% in a single year and met enrollment goals for two years in a row. The last three years Alicia has been the Assistant Principal of Instruction and Principal in Residence at IDEA Walzem she has led the math and science teams who together are responsible for an 8% increase in overall Math scores and a 6% increase in overall Science from previous school year. Alicia now serves the IDEA Walzem College Prep team as interim Principal and is commitment to fulfill the promise she made to all the families she has recruited and served over the past five years to prepare 100% of Walzem Wolves to go to and through college. Alicia is a wife and mother of three school aged children William in 12th grade who’s infatuated with fish and is a cross country runner, Javier in 9th grade who plays the tuba and is a striving comedian and Sofia in 3rd grade who is a starving artist with a promising soccer career ahead of her. The Ramirez family is often involved in local mission trips including the most recent Hurricane Harvey where they took cleaning supplies and tools to help with cleanup efforts in a small town outside of Houston.Continue Reading
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