One Page Bio | Video Bio

Who is Rubén?

Rubén G. Perez has been in education since 1988.

His firsthand experience with students considered at-risk (school dependent) comes from various positions. In K–8 he taught general education, English language learners, and preforming arts. As a district administrator for K–12, he focused on closing the achievement gap, teacher retention, economic and cultural diversity, and districtwide dropout interventions. He specialized in working with students who felt disenfranchised with school and the community around them. He is well familiar with effective techniques that work with students who are predisposed to tantrums and apathy.

Perez was the director and supervisor of an off-campus tutoring program for a Section 8 apartment complex where he wrote curriculum and managed both teachers and students. He also served as an advisor on professional development, economic/cultural diversity, classroom management, gender differences, forming school culture/climate, and he served on a board for various in-district and out-of-district committees. As a behavioral specialist, Perez helped open a Title I elementary school, organized an annual parent symposium, conducted/supervised home visits with parents, and mentored individual students.

Perez is the creator of Welcome to U.S. Schools: A Guide for Spanish-Speaking Immigrant Parents. This video is in Spanish with English subtitles targeting Spanish-speaking parents. It aids in their transition to a new environment by highlighting cultural and academic differences that are often the source of conflict and confusion. The video helps to educate and empower monolingual parents to advocate for their children’s education. He also gives presentations to parents in Spanish on transitioning between cultures while taking pride in and encouraging their children’s academic success, cultural trends their children might adopt, and understanding how to maintain their position of authority, which is often lost in “the language battle.”

Perez’s motivational talks for students are centered on how to stay out of trouble, the benefits of self-reflection, cultural diversity, why keeping relationships with parents and staff strong is necessary, and the value they themselves add to this world.

Rubén provides training on:

  • Emotional Poverty
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty
  • Understanding the Hispanic Culture
  • Research-Based Strategies
  • Cultural Awareness and Working with Diverse Students


  • Master of Education in Administration and Supervision, University of Houston
  • Teaching Certification, Alternative Certification Program, Houston ISD, University of Houston, St. Thomas University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Radio and Television, University of Houston

Work history

  • Behavioral Specialist
  • Student Advocate
  • Music Teacher
  • General Education Teacher


Industrial video: Welcome to U.S. Schools: A Guide for Spanish-Speaking Immigrant Parents

Rubén’s aha! moment

Even though I always felt I had a pretty good grasp on what was effective with students, I knew after reading Dr. Payne’s book in 1996 that her strategies would be more effective. Her research and recommendations help me home in on children’s needs more precisely. The results helped lead us to a stronger, student-centered environment where many more students were successful academically and socially.

Professional passions

  • Diverse instruction friendly to both learning styles and gender
  • Educational research
  • Motivational environments for students, staff, and community
  • Community outreach
  • Racial and cultural relations

Rubén’s passions

  • Cooking
  • Herb gardening
  • Family and friends
  • Skydiving (even though I only did it once)

Rubén’s favorite part of training

I continue to relish the many occasions when we are made aware of aha! moments. The persistent personalization of experiences with our message affirms the relevance of the work. To witness excitement and passion as people realize their position as change agents (instead of thinking that students have to change first) is its own reward. One participant said it best: “I, for the first time, understand that I have not been teaching my village how to fish. I have been giving them fish because I wanted to be their hero. I am putting away my fishing pole. Thank you for helping me to realize that it is not all about me.”

What does Rubén do for fun?

More than anything, Rubén enjoys cooking for friends and family. He has a healthy attraction to scanning the Internet for recipes for future unplanned and impromptu dinners. He also enjoys tiling, mostly because it involves two of his favorite toys: water and power tools.

When it rains, you will find him making a pot of coffee, grabbing his favorite oversized umbrella, and going for a long walk. He does not answer the phone during episodes of M*A*S*H or Star Trek. Those are sacred moments.

When able, he will take a day trip with a friend and explore the history and architecture of some remote location.

What are people saying about Rubén?

“You made me laugh, cry, and think. Thank you. My students and my family will benefit from your message.”

“I have been in education for 32 years. This is the best in-service I have ever been to since the beginning of my career. I hope to have your level of passion when I retire in the next hundred years.”

“I thought I knew more than I did. I now see I have lots to learn about how to motivate students. I honestly thought they were the ones who needed to change. I now see I’m the one who needs to look in the mirror first. Thank you!”

“Ruben is an excellent presenter!”

“Great job! Helped me remember some things and enlightened me in many ways!”

“Absolutely wonderful! Thought-provoking and instantly applicable to our schools!”

“Wonderful presentation. The day flew by! Thank you!”

“Wonderful workshop! Presenter knowledgeable and so funny!”

“Thank you for sharing your professional insights through the AHA! Process with our instructional staffs this past week. The conversation pertaining to the cultural realities and how to best serve our growing “at-risk” population has been abundant amongst the teachers since your presentation. I have heard numerous individuals say, “I did not know this or that about a given social, cultural, and/or economic group…now, it makes more sense to me as to why Johnnie or Céline reacted in that manner when I said —– or we asked her family to do —.)” Kudos to a job well done…and I personally note that my life – especially my skill set to better serve local at-risk patrons – has been enriched by meeting and listening to you! Blessings and please know…you made a huge “positive” difference while you were here and —– hopefully for years to come!”