Vowing to “help the San Marino Unified School District improve on academic success for all students,” Shelley Ryan, a local educator, has announced her candidacy for a seat on the school board.
Ryan teaches World Literature at Alhambra High School and also oversees a Peer Counseling Conflict Mediation program at the school.
“I teach students to refer students they feel might need assistance and I teach them to help at-risk kids as well,” said Ryan, who has been an educator for twenty-eight years.
“A lot of our students are struggling and with the onset of the Common Core, I want to help our school board implement policies that will help our students get to the top universities as well as finding our students internships and more opportunities outside the classroom,” Ryan told The Tribune.
Common Core is a state educational program that places more emphasis on critical thinking while de-emphasizing test taking. It will be implemented this fall.
Ryan said her best qualification was an ability “to work well with administration, faculty and students.”
“I have been in education for twenty-eight years,” she said. “I have strong communication skills and have been a strong leader within the community for the past two decades. I am very interested in helping the district financially, to maintain programs and to use the funds our community generously provides in the wisest manner possible.”
Ryan has been a member of the PTA for seventeen years and has served on the pre-school and nursery school board of directors at San Marino Community Church. She has also served for seventeen years on the Friends of the Crowell Public Library as well as several stints in San Marino National Little League, and football, basketball and baseball booster clubs.
Shelley is married to Kelly Ryan, a Pasadena attorney. The couple have three children; Caitlyn graduated from Temple City High School in 2009 and is currently a junior at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where she studies Library Science; twin sons Justin and Kieran graduated from San Marino High School last Friday.
“I feel we as a district need to do a better job differentiating our students from other students,” Ryan said. “I feel we need to earlier identify what our young people’s gifts are and what they are interested in to provide better direction. I believe in the public education system, the San Marino community and I believe I can be a great addition to the school board.”
Ryan also touted her experience in allocation while serving on the executive committees of the PTA.
“It’s not just a matter of getting the money, it’s getting the best use out of the money,” she said. “Our PTAs frequently raise more than $250,000 and there is a great responsibiklity in using those funds wisely.’
Ryan also has served on committees to schoose local PTA board members and was a member of the successful campaign to pass Measure R, a parcel tax that has helped the San Marino Unified School District maintain its position as the top unified school district in the state of California even as government funding has withered.
When asked what diet she has her World Literature students following at Ahambra High School, Ryan said “everything from Things Fall Apart to The Joy Luck Club to The Odyssey to MacBeth.”
Ryan claimed the district already has in place “quality programs, that need to be evaluated regualarly. We need to better prepare our children for the workforce.”
Three of the five seats on the San Marino School Board will be contested at the Tuesday, November 5 election. Board members Nam Jack and current board President Joseph Chang have told The Tribune they intend to pull papers when the filing period opens on July 15.
Board member Dr. Jeng Yen announced at the May 28 meeting that he will not defend his seat in November. San Marino resident Phil Chan has also told The Tribune he intends to file election papers. The filing period for potential candidates closes on August 9. The other two members of the San Marino Unified School District Board of Governors – Lisa Link and Chris Norgaard – have two more years remaining on their respective terms.
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