Superintendent of Grapevine-Colleyville School District (GCISD) Robin Ryan announced his planned retirement in late September, following a tumultuous year of policy debates among parents and members of the district’s Board of Trustees, which touched on current hot-button issues in public education.
After serving for 13 years at the helm of GCISD’s administration, he reflected on his tenure and the current political climate in an interview with WFAA last week.
“The guidance I have: Involve our community. Involve our leaders. Involve our cities. Involve our parents and our students. We have so much at stake in public education,” said Ryan.
Recent public meetings of the GCISD Board of Trustees saw hundreds of parents and activists take to the floor to comment on issues ranging from the district’s student bathroom policy to how it screens for age-appropriate literary materials, contentious topics that have animated communities across North Texas, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
Ryan also commented on a proposed bill in the Texas legislature requiring school board candidates to declare whether they are running as Democrats or Republicans. School board races are currently non-partisan.
He told WFAA, “I think it’s a little misguided to make [education] a partisan issue. At the same time, I think all of us can find things that we can agree on and that’s what the challenge is to find things that we can agree on.”
Ryan added, “Whether you have a D or an R behind your name is really in my opinion less important than how your heart and your mind governs for the kids and the families that are in every single community.”
The district’s school board president, Casey Ford, commented on Ryan’s tenure upon the retirement announcement, stating:
“Dr. Ryan has been a tireless visionary for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD over the past 13 years. Along with the board, Dr. Ryan has focused GCISD and its stakeholders on identifying and developing the strengths and gifts of every child. This vision culminated in the single focused goal for all of our students to achieve success beyond high school graduation.”
If the Texas Education Agency’s accountability report is any indication, Ryan is leaving GCISD in relatively good shape. The district clocked a 95.7% on-time graduation rate for the class of 2022, more than 5% above the state average and far better than Dallas ISD, where nearly 20% of the class of 2022 did not walk at commencement.
However, GCISD’s performance on the last STAAR test leaves much to be desired, with only 68% of its students scoring at grade level. Still, the district outperformed the state average of 48% and Dallas ISD, which saw only 41% of its students meet grade level expectations on the exam.