Grapevine-Colleyville school district picks Dallas administrator for superintendent

GRAPEVINE -- Grapevine-Colleyville school trustees on Monday night named Robin Ryan, a former principal at Colleyville Heritage High School, as the lone finalist to become the district's next superintendent.

Ryan, of Grapevine, is chief academic officer of the Dallas school district. He was not present at the meeting.

The quick announcement, which drew "oohs" from some in the audience, passed unanimously with no discussion by trustees.

"He's a people person," said board President Charlie Warner, who said that Ryan's urban-district expertise coupled with hometown familiarity will serve the 13,650-student district well. "He will be a big supporter of teachers, and he loves kids."

Trustees reviewed 46 applications for the post.

Ryan was principal of Colleyville Heritage from 2004 to 2006, when he left for Dallas as an area superintendent. He worked for the Carroll district from 1996 to 2004 in several secondary principal roles. He has had teaching and administrative posts in the San Angelo, Graham and Hurst-Euless-Bedford districts since his career began in 1985.

"I am honored to be selected by the board of trustees to return to Grapevine-Colleyville ISD," Ryan said in a statement. "Our children have benefitted from the education they have received in GCISD and our family is proud to be a part of the district's rich tradition of excellence."

By state law, Ryan cannot be named superintendent for three weeks. The first date he could be hired would be June 14. The next scheduled board meeting is June 21; a special meeting could be called for an earlier vote.

Ryan will succeed Kay Waggoner, who left in March to head the Richardson school district.

A replacement for Chief Financial Officer Hank Johnson, who left in January for the Fort Worth district, has not been named.

Ryan will face challenges including budget shortfalls and funding issues that are common to most districts. But he also must deal with a scandal in the district's construction and facilities department that prompted the resignations of three employees, including the department head.

Friends in the district say Ryan will be a good problem-solver.

"I worked with him in Carroll," said Jerry Hollingsworth, principal of Grapevine High.

"He's a phenomenal leader. He always keeps his focus on young people, and he's smart."

Ryan and his family have lived in the district 14 years. Ryan's wife, Cindy, is an associate minister at First United Methodist Church. Their son Reed is a Grapevine High School senior, and son Graham is a fifth-grader at Timberline Elementary School. A daughter, Daryl, is a senior at Texas A&M University. She graduated from Grapevine High School in 2007.

In other business, trustees:

Swore in new Trustee Karen Deakin to replace Nancy Coplen, who retired.

Revised exceptions to the transfer policy to allow students from kindergarten through ninth grade who move out of the district to complete the semester at their current school. Students in grades 10 through 12 will be allowed to remain in Grapevine-Colleyville schools until graduation.

Revised a policy so that beginning with next year's ninth-graders, students will not be able to use dual-credit courses, correspondence courses or courses for which credit is earned by exam in the calculation of grade-point averages for class ranking.

SHIRLEY JINKINS, 817-390-7657