Ralph Arza is an accomplished consultant, a natural leader, an effective coach, and a former Florida State Representative. Ralph has always been passionate about education and education reform, having drafted several pieces of legislation during his time as a state representative (2000-2006) to help promote better education and more opportunities for students in the state. As a former teacher and football coach, Ralph Arza has seen firsthand the role of education in young people’s lives, and throughout his life, he has aimed to provide opportunities to students designed to improve their mindsets, enhance their education, and promote better lives for all of them.
Ralph Arza graduated from Miami Senior High School in 1978, earning an associate’s degree from Miami Community College and later a bachelor’s degree in history education from Florida International University. Upon receiving the latter degree, Ralph Arza returned to his alma mater and taught history in high school. While in this role, Ralph also became the school’s head football coach in 1985. When he stepped into this position, Ralph Arza became the county’s youngest head coach in history, as well as the first Cuban American coach for the region.
Beyond his work with the high school, Ralph Arza is dedicated to his lifelong goal of improving education, as well as the lives of all students in general, in Florida. In 1996, Ralph worked alongside local law enforcement to create Top Performance overnight camps, which hosted team building activities for disadvantaged youths in an effort to promote positivity, growth, and empowerment for young individuals in troubled neighborhoods.
During his time as a legislator, Ralph Arza worked diligently to improve the education system in Florida. He served as the Chair of the PreK – 12 Education Committee as well as the Vice-Chair of the Education Council during his time as a state representative. He also worked with Jeb Bush in creating the A+ program.
Ralph Arza led a teaching career that spanned two decades before deciding to shift his focus to public service, but he has never abandoned his passion for education. Even now, as a consultant and coach, Ralph draws from his experiences as a high school teacher and football coach. At present, Ralph Arza lives in Palm Beach Gardens with his wife of 38 years and his five children.
Interview with Ralph Azra
What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Ralph Arza: I specialize in strategic planning and developing creative solutions. Over the years I have built a network of highly successful and principled people.
Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.
Ralph Arza: Don’t react to personal attacks! Instead of dignifying the accusations, use the intensity of your emotions to solidify your resolve to reach your goals.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Ralph Arza: Being able to provide for my family.
What is your favorite hobby and why?
Ralph Arza: First of all, growing up I never saw anyone in my family have a hobby. Golf has been the only hobby I learned to enjoy.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
Ralph Arza: My greatest risk was getting on a boat with my parents and leaving everything behind in Cuba to come to America. My parents’ dedication to providing a better life for our family made a deep impression on me and has been a driving force behind my success and devotion to my family.
Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Ralph Arza: Finding solutions to difficult problems. Understanding the problem and identifying related causes are necessary prerequisites to finding solutions.
What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
Ralph Arza: Work your as* off, build principled relationships, and develop a strong faith.
What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Ralph Arza: The Bible
Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Ralph Arza: Common sense, a person with common sense can find solutions using intuition, prior experiences and seeing challenges from different perspectives.
Do you value competence or loyalty? Why?
Ralph Arza: Competence. A loyal but incompetent team member is limited.
What would you consider to be the perfect day?
Ralph Arza: Sundays: Church, brunch (mimosas), watch NFL football, take a nap, wake up and jump in the pool, make chicken wings and hamburgers for my family, and a good bottle of wine.