Bayfield High School names new leader

The district has been involved in an extensive months-long search to find a new administrator, and a comprehensive regional advertising campaign was launched to attract qualified applicants. Multiple interviews for the position were held before administrators enthusiastically identified Ryan as the right candidate.

“Mr. Ryan is an experienced educator and administrator who is familiar with the unique benefits and challenges of delivering a quality education in rural Colorado,” Bayfield Superintendent Leon Hanhardt said. “His background has prepared him perfectly for this position, and the interview committee immediately felt he is the right fit for our school and community.”

Ryan is an Ohio native who made the transition to Colorado three years ago when he became the principal of the K-12 school in Norwood. Prior to the move, Ryan had obtained his master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University — Chicago after earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Simpson University. 

Ryan said he started college as an education major but switched to the organizational leadership program and got his teaching credentials through alternative licensure because he recognized early that he would eventually want to hold a leadership position in education.

“I was able to make a difference in my classroom with my students, but I knew I did not want to limit myself to that corner of the world. I wanted to have an impact on students beyond that classroom,” he explained.

Ryan was a media arts and business teacher in Ohio from 2014 to 2018, and the following year, he served in a small rural district as the district’s online school coordinator, which meant he oversaw the online learning programs while he continued to teach media arts. He served as a director of instructional technology and was a district-level administrator at various school districts in the Buckeye State.

“It has been a well-rounded experience for me, and it gave me different perspectives that I would not have had if I had gone straight into the administrative role,” Ryan said of the early part of his career, which allowed him to take on several different administrative duties to gain experience in that realm before he officially became an administrator when he moved to Norwood three years ago.

He believes his time in Norwood has also been unique because it exposed him to the challenges that present themselves when working with different age groups.

“Getting to be part of the process and see education unfold from kindergarten to graduation has given me a perspective and respect for the process that happens at all schools and all levels,” Ryan reported. “I started as a secondary teacher, but I’ve really appreciated this process. It has been good.”

The newly-minted BHS principal also holds credits in clinical counseling and Career and Technical education and said being exposed to those areas gave him even more valuable insight as an educator and administrator.

“It gave me a better perspective on how to best serve children and adults,” Ryan reasoned. 

After serving inside and outside of the classroom across all grade levels — and demonstrating a commitment in each role to supporting student achievement and staff growth — Ryan is excited to put it all into practice and get back to his roots in secondary education when he takes his new position in Bayfield this summer.

“l can’t wait to get to know the students, staff, and community there, and I’m excited to build upon the great foundation that the school district has already established,” Ryan indicated.

While he enjoyed the environment at the small rural school where he presently serves, Bayfield’s new administrator said he was attracted to this community and its schools because they are a little bigger and can make more resources available to staff and students. 

“You have the small town atmosphere, but there are enough resources to provide people with opportunities and challenge them in ways you wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” Ryan stated. “After working in a much smaller district, I’m also looking forward to working with a full team of folks to make things happen for students.”

Ryan was also attracted to the area because he enjoys being outdoors, and likes to pursue hiking, traveling, baking, and photography in his downtime. He has used the Four Corners region for weekend escapes since moving to Colorado and admits he is excited to live and work in the area he loves to visit.

“I moved to Colorado to be outdoors, and this is exactly what I was hoping for when I made that transition,” Ryan said.

While there are still some teaching and support positions to be filled for the next year, the hiring of Ryan was a key step in building next year’s team. The Bayfield Superintendent said he is pleased with the results of the district’s recruitment efforts to this point and grateful to the individuals who contributed to the process.

“Circumstances required us to recruit two new principals this spring in a very competitive hiring market. I am pleased with the process we put together to identify and attract strong candidates for both positions,” Hanhardt said. “We are also very grateful for the volunteers who served on our selection committees. They did important work for our schools and community, and I think they did it very well.”