BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Editor
He’s a husband, father, educator, and superintendent.
And on June 26, Shawn Ryan became a doctor.
On that day, Ryan successfully defended his doctoral dissertation to a panel of Oakland University educators and Clarkston Community Schools’ Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Nancy Mahoney.
The capstone project was entitled “The Case For The Application Of Hyper-Equity on Subgroup Achievement Gaps in Clarkston Community Schools.”
“At this point in my career, it was incredible to be able to link theory and practice as a doctoral student and as Clarkston’s superintendent in an academic setting,” Ryan said. “The program allowed me to place 100 percent of my course and dissertation focus on the needs of Clarkston Schools. I was able to apply new thinking in so many different areas with a diverse set of colleagues from both the education setting and executive officers in many different non-profit companies.”
“Shawn’s capstone presentation was a culmination of research, data, genuine passion, and a strong plan to move our district forward in becoming a highly reliable district where all students achieve,” Mahoney added. “I couldn’t be more proud and happy for him.”
Clarkston Board of Education President Kelli Horst was equally thrilled for Ryan’s latest accomplishment.
“When the board hired Shawn in May 2018, we knew we had the right leader for Clarkston Community Schools right in front of us, even without the doctoral degree,” Horst said. “Still, he enthusiastically engaged in the opportunity to expand his knowledge as an educator. His dissertation is directly reflected in our strategic plan and will help continue to move our district toward an equitable education for all students.”
The doctoral program Ryan completed was comprised of 64 credit hours with courses in leadership, strategic thinking, policy and governance, human relations, law, school finance, and operations.
He will be officially awarded the degree of Doctor of Education by Oakland University on Aug. 28, 2020.
Ryan began his teaching career in Clarkston in 1995. In his more than 25 years with the district, he has served as a science teacher, assistant principal, principal, deputy superintendent, and superintendent.
He holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from St. Vincent College, a school in Latrobe, Pa. He earned a teaching certification and Central Office Administration post-master’s certification at Oakland University.
“We all know about Shawn’s passion and enthusiasm,” Horst said. “I’ve had numerous conversations with him over the last couple of years where we excitedly discussed new thinking gleaned in class that fine-tuned our vision, or he referenced a valuable lesson learned (or a pitfall to avoid) from one of his classmates.
“Clarkston Community Schools and, ultimately, our students, will benefit extensively from Shawn’s commitment to his academic and professional growth.”