As President and CEO of BakerRipley, Claudia Aguirre leads an internationally renowned community development organization that has transformed neighborhoods across Houston for 112 years. As one of the largest nonprofits in the country, BakerRipley serves nearly six-hundred thousand people each year. With an operating budget of $350 million annually, the organization delivers programs and services to children, families, and seniors through its workforce centers, senior facilities, community centers, charter campuses, and Head Start locations. As CEO, Claudia leads a team of more than 1,500 staff at over 60 locations across the Houston region.
Claudia joined BakerRipley in 2010 as Vice President of Community Based Initiatives and worked her way up to Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer. She led the operation of six community centers, directed the expansion of the BakerRipley community school district, and enhanced programs in civic engagement, small business incubation, and immigration services. As Superintendent of schools, she guided the development of the BakerRipley New Neighbor School, a nationally recognized school for newly-arrived immigrant and refugee children. In 2018, Claudia was promoted to Chief Executive Officer.
To support BakerRipley’s growth in the region, Claudia spearheaded the organizational implementation of its Appreciative Community Building approach, which applies a strength-based model to community engagement. This remains central to the agency’s purpose ─ to keep the Houston region a place of opportunity for everyone.
Claudia has over two decades of leadership experience gained from directing large-scale, community engagement initiatives while working in the government, education and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining BakerRipley, she served as the Director of the Citizen’s Assistance Office for Houston Mayor Bill White. Before the Mayor’s Office, Claudia was a Houston Independent School District Principal who led the design and development of one of the first alternative schools for at-risk students.
Claudia has received numerous education and community awards and was recently named “Woman of the Year 2019” by Solo Mujeres Magazine. Other select awards include: “2018 Women Who Mean Business” by Houston Business Journal, “2018 Women on the Move” by Texas Executive Women, and “2018 Mujeres Legendarias Houston” by Camara de Empresarios Latinos Houston. On behalf of BakerRipley, Claudia is accepting the “2019 Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award” from Holocaust Museum-Houston.
She earned a Master of Education degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, as well as Principal and Superintendent Certifications. She holds a Special Education certification and an English as a Second Language certification from Texas Education Agency, and she holds an Education Executive certification from Harvard University.
Claudia is renowned for her expertise in child development, community engagement, and immigration policies. She has spoken as a subject matter expert at numerous conferences and has been featured in Center for American Progress, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Urban Institute, and the Houston Chronicle.
Her experience of immigrating at the age of eight helped her to pursue her dreams and ignited a passion to help others pursue theirs. She is proud of her daughter who is pursuing a degree in International Relations at University of Texas-Austin, and her son who is a junior at Strake Jesuit.