As President and CEO of BakerRipley, Claudia Aguirre leads an internationally renowned community development organization that has transformed neighborhoods across Houston for more than 112 years. As one of the largest nonprofits in the country, BakerRipley serves six-hundred thousand people each year. They deliver programs and services to children, families, and seniors through their workforce centers, senior facilities, community centers, charter campuses, and Head Start locations. As CEO, she leads a team of 1,600 at 67 locations across the Houston region with an operating budget of $350 million annually.
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 2017, Claudia was selected by the Board of Directors and a National Search Committee to lead the organization as Chief Executive Officer.
To support BakerRipley’s growth in the region, Claudia spearheaded the organizational implementation of it’s Appreciative Community Building approach which focuses on a strength-based model for community engagement. This remains at the core of the agency’s purpose, to keep the Houston region a place of opportunity for everyone.
Claudia has over two decades of leadership experience having directed 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 where she led the design and development of one of the first alternative schools for at-risk students.
Claudia has received numerous education and community awards having recently been named “Woman of the Year 2019” by Solo Mujeres Magazine, “2018 Women Who Mean Business” by the Houston Business Journal, “2018 Women on the Move” by Texas Executive Women, “2018 Mujeres Legendarias Houston” by Camara de Empresarios Latinos Houston, and accepted the “2019 Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award” from the Holocaust Museum Houston on behalf of BakerRipley.
She holds a Master of Education degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, as well as Principal and Superintendent Certifications. She also holds a Special Education Certification and English as a Second Language Certification from the Texas Education Agency, and a 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 a number of conferences and has been featured in publications and articles produced by The Center for American Progress, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Urban Institute, and The Houston Chronicle. She is currently a Class C Director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a member of the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities.
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 currently at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a degree in International Relations, and her son who is a Junior at Strake Jesuit in Houston.