Ramon M. Griffin is a native of Ford Heights, IL, a small town once known as the “poorest suburb” in the United States of America. It was there that Ramon was labeled at-risk and exposed to true poverty, low quality school systems, widespread community violence and many other chronic environmental stressors. Due to his surroundings, he struggled to gain access to the many pockets of academic knowledge and social networks that his counterparts in adjacent towns possessed. Thus, to overcome the structural impediments, Ramon exhibited perseverance, fortitude, willpower, and mental toughness in every facet of his life. While his circumstances were challenging and daunting to many, Ramon remained hopeful and relished the opportunity to prove that roses could be cultivated in the harshest terrain. The hidden curriculums in Ford Heights as well as his educational and professional training have afforded him unique non-cognitive skills, unmatched life experiences, and critical indigenous knowledges that have not only helped him navigate the world as a racially and emotionally conscious being, but as a resilient and transcendent leader that promotes boundary spanning and the dissection of cultural identity.
Currently, Ramon M. Griffin is a rising fifth year Ph.D. Candidate in the K-12 Educational Administration Department at Michigan State University (MSU). He is also a Visiting Researcher in the Comparative Human Development Department at the University of Chicago, a position that will evolve into a Post Doctoral Fellowship appointment in January of 2018. Prior to his studies at MSU, Ramon proudly graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) double majoring in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Shortly thereafter, Ramon attended the University of Nebraska School of Law where he learned ample about the United States Legal System, but even more about himself, trauma, failure, ministry and purpose. These serendipitous life lessons and realities served as the impetus for Ramon to lead a life of advocacy, servanthood, engagement and fearlessness. Over the next few years, Ramon would serve as a detention and probation officer in post-adjudicated facilities for juveniles as well as a teacher and administrator in several Charter Management Organizations (CMO) in urban cities like Houston, New Orleans and Detroit. He also enjoyed a brief leadership role as Program Director for an educational scholarship program called Boys Hope Girls Hope.
Ramon’s childhood experiences and varied professional landscapes contribute greatly to his interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach to educating youth as well, particularly youth of color plagued by poverty and chronic traumatic stressors. Therefore, his research interests includes the Sociology of K-12 Education and Urban Education Reform, “No Excuses” Discipline, How Mental Health Issues and Exposure to Trauma Impacts Academic Achievement, Urban Community Engagement and the School to Prison Pipeline to name a few. To date, Ramon has presented his work at the Albert Shanker Institute in Washington D.C., the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA) and many other research conferences around the country. Ramon is very active with the American Educational Research Association as well (AERA). He has held numerous leadership positions within the organization from Newsletter Chair to Division A Connect Series Co-Chair. Most recently, he was appointed the AERA Graduate Student Program Chair for the 2017 AERA National Conference in San Antonio. Ramon is a 2015 Chicago Cohort Education Pioneer and a 2016 UCEA Barbara Jackson Scholar Alumni. His educational writings have been featured in the Washington Post as well as international academic blogs like Cloaking Inequity, Edushyter and Diane Ravitch’s blog, to name a few.
Ramon’s dissertation will explore the effects of cumulative trauma exposure on Black males who have attended, or are currently attending “No Excuses” Charter Schools. The other strand of his dissertation work will examine how exposure to trauma/cumulative trauma influences the disciplinary decision making of Deans and other administrators who manage school culture at “No Excuses” Charter Schools. At the culmination of his doctoral studies at Michigan State University in December of 2017, Ramon plans to continue making an impact at the University of Chicago through his work with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and The University of Chicago’s Charter schools examining the effects of community violence, exclusionary discipline practices and school push-outs on traditionally marginalized populations. He will continue to pursue career opportunities within the academy as well as opportunities within the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. He hopes to strategically impact urban communities with his diverse skill sets, conduct transformative research and create equitable educational policies for students who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised.