Photo of: Charles Ramsey/Photo by: Don Gosney Story by: Kia Croom
Charles Ramsey, president of Board of Education of West Contra Costa County Unified School District (WCCUSD), is among five individuals selected to receive the Fifth Annual Judge George Carroll Community Service Awards established by the Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC). Ramsey grew up in the Richmond area, where his family lived since 1965. While growing up, Ramsey watched his father, Henry Ramsey become the first African American deputy district attorney in Contra Costa County and also as he became an Alameda County Superior Court judge. Later, his father became Dean of Howard University Law School. Similar to his father, Ramsey took interest in the legal system; although he developed a passion for shaping the lives of children that would later drive his career. Ramsey attended Berkeley High School and went on to attend the University of California Los Angeles where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He received a law degree from the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. He was first elected to the WCCUSD Board of Education in 1993 and has since been reelected five times. He is the longest serving board member in the school board’s 100-year history and is the only African-American board member who has ever been reelected. Ramsey has consistently demonstrated a commitment to improving the district’s schools and has been instrumental is raising $1.5 billion dollars to rebuild 91 percent of its schools. He is credited with helping to balance the district’s budget without having to resort to program cuts and teacher layoffs. “There is still so much work to do, and I won’t be satisfied until every child is getting the education he or she truly deserves,” he said. Ramsey is co-founder of Ivy League Connection (ILC) — a program designed to promote a college-going culture among high school students in West Contra Costa County and the Bay Area. Participating students visit summer enrichment programs at prestigious Ivy League campuses. Ramsey and his wife live in El Cerrito with their two daughters. Kia Croom is contributing writer for the Richmond Post.