Leadership Interview: Dr. Robin Ryan

I had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Robin Ryan, Superintendent of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, about his visionary leadership of the 13,000+ student school district in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  I am excited to share highlights (some paraphrased) of our conversation in hopes it inspires other school leaders in our state.

Question: What are you most proud of in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD?

Dr. Ryan: Our original strategic plan was 7 years ago and we are looking at what’s next with LEAD 2.0, knowing we need to go deeper, not wider.  I’m proud of the personalized teaching we have to offer, from Dual Language to our Collegiate Academy and full time online school.  We have greatly expanded student choice.

Question: What does personalized learning look like in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD?

Dr. Ryan: This looks different in different places with STEM in elementary, middle, and high school and No Excuses University, for example.  In addition, we’re pursuing IB authorization at one of our elementary schools.  We have telescoping in mathematics as well and have seen growth in the number of kids taking advantage of this opportunity.

Question: What is your leadership style?

Dr. Ryan: I would say it is adaptive.  My job is to set the vision, develop people, and develop the organization.  It’s about finding the best principals and the best teachers and asking people to get on board.  I operate with a growth mindset.  We ask different questions and expect different results.  We have a culture that invites people to have autonomy.  It took 4 years to feel like we were making progress and since then we have had lots of positive things happen.  This includes a 90% customer satisfaction level on a recent survey in which more than 1600 staff responded.


I appreciate Dr. Ryan’s time for this conversation.  I challenge you to consider your responses to these questions and to share your story as a district/campus leader.

For the latest happenings in GCISD, visit https://www.gcisd.net/ or follow the district on Twitter @GCISD.

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