School Board President Seeks to Continue Her Work

Shelley Ryan
Shelley Ryan

She’s capping her first term on the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education by serving as its president, but Shelley Ryan hopes to bring her perspective as an educator to the table for another term in this year’s election.
Ryan said she wants to continue improving the district’s offerings to students, using the momentum from the past several years of accomplishments, not least the continuation of SMUSD’s No. 1 ranking in the state’s annual academic evaluations of school districts. Course innovation — such as collaborative efforts with the Huntington Library and Caltech — are key developments, Ryan said.
“This is, to me, one of the biggest accomplishments in the last four years,” she said, referring to the Caltech partnership with San Marino High School. “These are not simple one-month or one-year partnerships. These are partnerships that are being built long term.”
A 23-year resident of San Marino, Ryan is presently the interim principal at Ynez Elementary School in Monterey Park, part of the Alhambra Unified School District; in total, she has spent more than 30 years with the district. A Vancouver, Canada, native, Ryan earned her bachelor’s degree in English, master’s degree in education psychology and master’s degree in administration and leadership from the University of British Columbia.
While raising her children in San Marino, Ryan said, she also was involved in parent groups and civic organizations. Working in education, being a parent and being on the school board have given her a unique point of view that best equips her to make decisions, she said.
“I have almost a 360-degree view of what it entails,” she said. “My breadth and depth of knowledge is pretty steep here. I have been a parent here in the community. I am knowledgeable about the community and I understand and know the values of the community.”
Other accomplishments for the board have been breaking ground on the Barth Athletics Complex at Huntington Middle School, funding a district-wide student wellness initiative and expanding STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education at the elementary level.
“In that, we are hoping not only to have the academics but now the activities in terms of social and emotional engagement,” Ryan explained, touching on the wellness initiative. “When we improve the social and emotional growth of a child, we will be able to improve the academic performance of a child once we get this off the ground.”
Further expanding programming remains high on Ryan’s priority list.
“We need to, of course, survey the students and see where their interests lie,” she said. “As we look for internships and experiences for our students, that’s how we’re going to get them to align. We need to look at students who have language needs, who have learning disabilities and needs, and we need to start looking at ways to support our students to make them more successful.”

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