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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
School

Santa Clara Unified School DistrictCandidate for Trustee, Trustee Area 3

Photo of Michele Ryan

Michele Ryan

Governing Board Member, Santa Clara Unified School District
21,672 votes (51.52%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Improve student engagement and achievement
  • Ensure that our schools and programs meet the demands of our community. Expand enrollment opportunities for Basics+ to resolve long wait lists for Millikin Elementary School.
  • Make certain that tax dollars are spent wisely, with the best interests of students at the center of our decision making.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Curriculum and Instructional Specialist
Governing Board Member, Santa Clara Unified School District — Elected position (2012–current)

Education

San Jose State University MA, History (current)
University of California, Santa Cruz PhD, History (2003)
Johns Hopkins University BA, International Studies (1988)

Community Activities

Troop Leader, Girl Scouts (2015–current)
Parent Volunteer, Wilson preschool program, Santa Clara Unified School District (2006–2013)
Sophomore Class Advisor, ESUHSD (2010–2012)
Parent Volunteer, Laurelwood preschool program, Santa Clara Unified School (2007–2009)
Youth soccer coach, AYSO (2007–2007)

Biography

In 2012, Michele Ryan was elected to the Santa Clara Unified School Board by more votes than any candidate in the last 20 years. She is the only credentialed teacher on the school board; she holds teaching credentials in Mathematics, Biology, Social Studies, and English. She also has an administrator credential.

Michele Ryan and her husband Eric have been married for 23 years and have been part of the Santa Clara community for 16 years.

Eric is an Electrical Engineer with a medical equipment manufacturer, and Michele is an educator in Santa Clara County. 

They have three children, all of whom have attended Santa Clara Unified School District schools.

In her four years on the board, Michele has been a strong advocate for students, parents, and teachers.

She is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Santa Clara.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Hon. Jamie McLeod, Santa Clara City Councilmember, 2004-2012
  • Sara Smith, SCUSD Teacher at Mission Middle College
  • Karen Hardy, SCUSD Math and Computer Science Teacher at Wilcox High School

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Ballot Statement

Summary

A copy of my ballot statement.

"Michele Ryan brings an important perspective to the Board.  She focuses on the big picture and long-term success of kids"—Hon. Jamie McLeod, Santa Clara City Councilmember, 2004-2012.

I am an educator with a Ph.D. from UC-Santa Cruz in History and teaching credentials in Mathematics, Biology, Social Studies, and

English. In 2012 you elected me by more votes than any candidate in the last 20 years, and with that trust I have worked to:

  • Purchase property to build three new schools in the District
  • Establish two STEM Leadership Institutes
  • Open Central Park Elementary
  • Bring millions of additional dollars to the District through the RDA settlement
  • Hire a disciplined fiscal leader to ensure district funds are spent responsibly

In my four years on the board I’ve confronted the political challenges and entrenched systems that hold great teachers back from doing their best work. We still have more work to do in improving

student achievement. Wilcox Math and Computer Science Teacher Karen Hardy says “Michele Ryan has a track record of improving student performance in the classroom. She really knows what needs to be done to improve teaching and learning for all students.”

Please vote for Dr. Michele Ryan. www.ryan4board.com

The three top issues in the district

Summary

Brief summary of three key issues for the District

My entire career has been spent in education, and I have taught at the elementary, secondary, and university levels.

I earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, and I hold teaching credentials in Math, Biology, English, and Social Studies. I also hold a clear administrative credential.

I am the only credentialed teacher on the school board, and my experience as a teacher, administrator, and parent has been an important addition to our decision making on the board.

There are three key issues in this campaign: student achievement, community needs, and resource allocation.

As a school district, our primary mission is to ensure that our students are well prepared for college and careers. 

When I first ran for the board four years ago our academic achievement lagged behind the districts around us, and only 2% of our college bound seniors were prepared for college math without remediation. 

In my four years on the board, we have improved student achievement, but we still lag behind the Santa Clara County average, so we need to do more. As the only credentialed teacher on the school board I will ensure that the Board keeps a close focus on student achievement.

The second role of the school board is to serve the community. We need to ensure that our schools and programs meet the demands of our community. The flight of students from our schools between 5th grade and 6th grade and the long wait lists at Millikin Elementary School are signs that we have more work to do as a District to meet the needs of our community. 

The final issue in this election is resource allocation. The school district receives public tax dollars, and one of its key roles is to ensure that these funds are spent carefully to best meet the needs of the students. We will be building three new schools in the next three years, and the Board needs to ensure that the tax dollars are spent carefully to maximize our investment.

 

Answers to questions from the Mercury News

Summary

My responses to questions asked by the Mercury News

1.     What is your name, age,  birthdate (so we have an accurate age whenever the story comes out) and occupation.

 

Michele Ryan. I recently celebrated my 50th birthday, and I am looking forward to celebrating my next birthday next year. I’m in academic administration focused on curriculum and instruction.  

 

2.     Why are you running?

 

I’m seeking re-election to continue advocating for students and parents whose only representation at the Board IS the Board. Administrators, teachers, and staff all have coordinated, organized professional representatives to advocate for them; students and parents – the ultimate stakeholders – lack that resource.

 

District studies show that as many as 61% of students in SCUSD leave district schools between 1st and 6th grade, with most of this flight occurring between 5th and 6th grader. The researcher who conducted this study said that he had never seen such high rates of flight in 30+ years of doing this work and in over 300 such studies.

 

Santa Clara families are so marginalized in the core decisions that impact their children that they seek alternatives outside SCUSD to meet their education goals. As a Board Member, my role is to ensure that the District is meeting the needs of the community. For example, we have one school, Millikin Elementary School, with a waiting list of over 700 students – a problem that has languished for over 10 years! Let’s get those students into a learning environment they want!

 

3. What are the most important issues in the campaign, why, and what would you do about them?

 

There are three key issues in this campaign: student achievement, community needs, and resource allocation.

 

As a school district, our primary mission is to ensure that our students are well prepared for college and careers. 

 

When I first ran for the board four years ago our academic achievement lagged behind the districts around us, and only 2% of our college bound seniors were prepared for college math without remediation. 

 

In my four years on the board, we have improved student achievement, but we still lag behind the Santa Clara County average, so we need to do more. As the only credentialed teacher on the school board I will ensure that the Board keeps a close focus on student achievement.

 

The second role of the school board is to serve the community. We need to ensure that our schools and programs meet the demands of our community. The flight of students from our schools between 3rd grade and 6th grade and the long wait lists at Millikin Elementary School are signs that we have more work to do as a District to meet the needs of our community. 

 

As a board member, I have regularly supported community interests, even when those interests differed from the recommendations of some district staff, and I will continue to advocate for the community.

 

The final issue in this election is resource allocation. The school district receives public tax dollars, and one of its key roles is to ensure that these funds are spent carefully to best meet the needs of the students. 

 

I am proud that the community supported district needs by passing Measure H that has allowed us to modernize many schools and will be used to build the new schools on the Agnews property. 

 

I am also glad that we were able to complete the RDA settlement with Santa Clara that ensures millions of new dollars will flow to the District.

 

The challenge now is to ensure that these funds are spent carefully, with the best interests of students at the center of our decision making.

 

4. What are your qualifications to sit on the school board?

 

My entire career has been spent in education, and I have taught at the elementary, secondary, and university levels.

 

I earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, and I hold teaching credentials in Math, Biology, English, and Social Studies. I also hold a clear administrative credential.

 

I am the only credentialed teacher on the school board, and my experience as a teacher, administrator, and parent of three great kids has been an important addition to our decision making on the board.

 

With my background, I am also experienced in bringing people with diverse views together to engage in respectful communication and to gain better understanding of the views of others. 

 

Among my achievements in my first four years on the board, I have helped to purchase the Agnews property where we will build three new schools, establish two new STEM Leadership programs, open Central Park Elementary, and bring millions of new dollars to the District through the RDA settlement.

 

 

5. Do you have a committee organized to help elect you? How much money do and your committee you plan to spend on your campaign?

 

I do have an official FPPC committee, and I am working with hundreds of community members who support my campaign.

 

I am running a grassroots, all volunteer campaign, and we expect to spend less than $10,000.

 

 

6. Who are the major or important endorsers of your candidacy?

 

I am particularly proud of three key endorsements from former Santa Clara Councilmember Jamie McCleod, Wilcox High School computer science and math teacher Karen Hardy, and Mission Middle College teacher Sara Smith.

 

Jamie McCleod  (former Santa Clara Councilmember)  said that I bring " an important perspective to the Board.  She focuses on the big picture and long-term success of kids"

 

Karen Hardy (Wilcox High School computer science and math teacher) said that I have “a track record of improving student performance in the classroom. She really knows what needs to be done to improve teaching and learning for all students.”

 

Sara Smith (Mission Middle College teacher) said that "Michele is a compassionate and articulate leader and is not intimidated by doing the right thing for students, even if it is not popular with adults.”

 

 

7. Are you running with or endorsing other candidates in this race? If so, please name them.

 

I am running an independent campaign. I have not endorsed any other candidates. I consider myself the independent voice on this board, and believe this makes my position even more important to the residents in the district.

 

8. What is the best phone number where I could reach you?

(408) 673-1620

Who else is running?

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