TASA’s “Inspiring Leaders” tagline is not just a reminder of TASA’s commitment to leadership development; it describes our members themselves — school leaders who inspire others as they work to prepare future-ready students. Meet Robin Ryan, one of those Inspiring Leaders.
Dr. Robin Ryan has held the superintendency in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD since 2010, a dedicated stay in a district Ryan is proud to lead.
“Over the last decade, we have personalized education around student needs with a full-time online school, an early college high school, and schools within schools for the highly gifted, STEM, fine arts and others,” Ryan says. “This is made possible with a dedicated team of teachers and administrators who embrace a culture of innovation. Our employees have made GCISD a Dallas Morning News Top 100 Workplace for the fourth year in a row.”
Brad Hunt, superintendent in Coppell ISD, says Ryan has been an invaluable help to other Texas school administrators, especially over the last couple of years, which have been an exceptional challenge for administrators everywhere.
“Dr. Ryan has been the steady voice of reason and a constant source of inspiration during this very challenging school year. He routinely reaches out to his fellow superintendents with words of wisdom, advice and encouragement. He readily makes himself available to offer coaching, guidance and support whenever needed. I have called him on a regular basis since March of 2020, and he has always been there for me. He serves as a mentor to many of us, and when I think of inspiring leaders, he instantly comes to mind.”
Ryan agrees that the past few years have brought no shortage of adversity for school administrators. He says he is able to carry on and handle criticism by maintaining his perspective and focusing on the core factors that keep him going.
“Balance is key, through exercise, meditation, healthy food choices and quality time with family,” he says. “When difficulties happen, it seems counterintuitive to pull back and care for oneself and family, but I believe it is the key to steady, non-anxious leadership and really helps in seeing and doing the next right thing.”
Mentorship and networking are key to Ryan’s work, and he has served on various committees and as an advocate for public education at every level. “His active involvement and strong leadership demonstrates to all of us the importance of advocacy work,” Hunt says. “He has orchestrated a roundtable of area superintendents that meets regularly to share ideas, problem-solve and support one another. I rely heavily on these collaborative meetings to glean ideas, share and gain support from my colleagues.”
Ryan says that mentorship helped him early in his career, and as a seasoned administrator, he is happy to return that support in an effort to strengthen Texas public education as a whole.
“Each person who poured into me helped me develop and grow,” he says. “They were paying it forward in their own way. These mentors are my heroes. After 36 years in education, I can see that it is up to us to advance the profession, teach the next generation, and help share the hard lessons that we have learned along the way. We are all in this together, and I’m confident the next generation will be able to conquer the complexities of the problems they will face.”