Ryan has been working in education for 19 years- 5 at Wimberley HS and with Special Olympics Texas. The staff and Unified programs at WHS have done a really great job at staying Unified despite the challenges this year has thrown their way, so we wanted to learn a bit more.
Ryan, tell us a little about yourself.
This is my 19th year in education. I have 3 children... Abby & Emma are my 10 year old twins, my son Owen is 6. My wife Jenny teaches special education in Wimberley, too. I love basketball and really enjoy fishing!
How has COVID-19 impacted your interactions with your students and/or athletes?
It has been a difficult time for all of us. We all miss each other greatly. I'm the HOD for our school delegation and I also coach with the Dripping Springs Flame delegation headed by the incredible Mark Van Nostrand.
In what ways has your classroom/school/district made an effort stay connected and Unified throughout this past year?
We planned to have a Unified class this year, but it fell through because of Covid. With the help of Dripping Springs ISD delegation and a very dedicated and caring staff/coaches at Wimberley we were able to participate in a Ranch Road 12 bowling competition (all credit goes to DSISD and their leaders). We have been using an Aerobics/P.E. class to start Unified activities such as Pickleball, Frisbee golf, yoga and basketball. Coach Jill Johnson (WISD) has been extremely helpful and accommodating to get Unified activities going in this wild time.
What have you found most challenging about this past school year?
It has been a struggle not having our practices and competitions to participate in. Our athletes check in with me and tell me how much they miss Special Olympics. It is heart wrenching because Special Olympics means so much to our athletes, families and coaches.
What keeps you motivated?
I know we will all be back together soon...practicing and competing. Knowing how much our athletes and coaches love and miss Special Olympics keeps me motivated.
What advice do you have for other educators or for students?
Find the good. (note: we LOVE this answer!)
Anything else you'd like to add?
I sincerely hope that Wimberley ISD becomes a Unified district and that is another motivation. My hope is that we can come out of the Covid crisis with the connections at all our schools to have Unified activities and competitors for years to come.