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Rivera honored as an Educator of the Year for LGBTQ+ work

Ronnie RiveraAs an LGBTQ+ Coordinator in the Milwaukee Public Schools Department of Gender and Identity Inclusion, Ronnie Rivera advocates for the district’s LGBTQ+ students, staff, and families. Not only that, he works for the greater Milwaukee LGBTQ+ community on his own time.  

Because of Rivera’s efforts, GSafe, the Madison-based nonprofit that works to help LGBTQ+ youth thrive in Wisconsin schools, is honoring him as a 2023 Educator of the Year.  

“Ronnie’s daily dedication and commitment is helping to ensure that our schools are safe spaces in the community, where students can feel safe, healthy, and affirmed to be themselves and thrive, both personally and academically,” said Ebony Lewis, director of the Department of Gender and Identity Inclusion. 

 Before joining the Department of Gender and Identity Inclusion as coordinator about a year ago, Rivera worked as a school social worker for more than five years, including a year with MPS. His focus is on providing services that are culturally sustaining, equity focused, and trauma informed to people who historically have been excluded and forgotten. 

Rivera works daily to educate staff across the district and raise LGBTQ+ awareness and promote inclusivity in schools. He also helps to support and sustain Gender Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) across the district. GSAs are student-led school clubs supported by an advisor that promote and encourage inclusivity, awareness, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ students and allies. 

“It is a true honor and privilege to serve alongside Ronnie in this extremely important work. Over the last year, he has taught me so much and inspired me in many ways to continue to be a voice and an advocate for the students and people in the community who need us the most. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor,” Lewis said. 

Outside of MPS, Rivera works at Courage House MKE, the first group home in Wisconsin to focus on housing displaced LGBTQ+ youths. Rivera also volunteers as an HIV counselor for Brady East STD Clinic, on Milwaukee’s east side. Besides bringing his LGBTQ+ expertise to his work, Rivera draws on professional and personal experiences as someone who identifies as queer, Taíno, and Puerto Rican. 

Rivera will be honored May 20, 2023, at the GSafe Celebration of Leadership in Madison. 

Please join the Gender and Identity Inclusion Department in congratulating Rivera and thanking him for his dedication to Milwaukee Public Schools and beyond. 


Stephen Davis, Media Relations Manager
(414) 475-8675
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