Ryan: Responsibility to ‘neighborhood schools’Woodbury resident Joe Ryan is no stranger to school board politics. Ryan was heavily involved in the “Save Our Neighborhood Schools” campaign last year during the Spanish immersion expansion discussions.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Woodbury resident Joe Ryan is no stranger to school board politics.
Ryan was heavily involved in the “Save Our Neighborhood Schools” campaign last year during the Spanish immersion expansion discussions.
Ryan said it was the Spanish immersion issue that really inspired him to run for District 833 School Board because he is very passionate about maintaining neighborhood schools.
“Our schools in our district, I want them to be neighborhood schools where the community takes ownership of the success and ensures that success,” he said. “We need to come up with a creative way of providing Spanish immersion the means to grow, but that’s a choice program, so we can’t compromise the basics.”
Ryan’s suggestion for possible future Spanish immersion expansion would be to look at moving it to Valley Crossing Community School since it is not only a large school, but a three-district school. Ryan said the other concern he has with the district is financial, since the school is currently facing a $6 million deficit.
Ryan said he would not be in favor of a new referendum, but instead he would look at cutting administration positions at the district level, based on excess or redundancy.
“The one place I will not budge is that we’re not cutting money that goes to the classroom – there’s not a lot of fluff at the schools,” he said. “Before I go to my neighbors and say we need more money, I want to at least show what we’ve done.”
Additionally, Ryan said he would like to look at streamlining operations. Ryan said his ability to delineate between wants and needs would be an asset when it comes to budget discussions.
Another major concern facing District 833 is the future of No Child Left Behind, and Ryan said he would like to see major revisions to the law.
“The title is wonderful,” he said. “The application is somewhere between worthless and horrible.”
Ryan said the biggest flaw of No Child Left Behind is that it doesn’t take social background into account when developing standards.
“Having federal guidelines is ludicrous because it doesn’t apply,” he said.
Ryan said he would also like to see teachers have a bigger role in developing curriculum since they are the ones who are in the classrooms.
Ryan said he has a very strong passion for education because both his father and grandfather were teachers.
“It’s really given me an appreciation for education,” he said. “That’s what I want to instill in my boys.”
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from Excelsior College in Albany, New York
Occupation: Risk management for STM Risk Solutions
Family: Wife Stephanie, 12-year-old son at Woodbury Middle School and 7-year-old son at Woodbury Elementary.