What is it you do?

As I move into my new role, I have gotten a lot of, “what is it you do?” or “what does that mean?”  While I understand the importance of defining my role, I feel getting to know me first, as a leader, is more important for people. 

With that said, I have spent a lot of time reflecting about how I got here. The obvious answers for mentors would be my mom, grandpa, or math teacher. However, ten short years ago, an interaction changed my life and ultimately, my career trajectory.  All it was, was a simple hello and helping hand. This person saw me lugging an exorbitant amount of motivational posters, markers, calculators, and crates, and came running to my rescue just before the stuff tumbled out of my hands.  She simply said, “Here, let me help you.” After a few more pleasantries, she let it be known that she would be in my room to support me as a mentor. Little did I know, this simple interaction and the words “help” and “support” would change my life.

This person continued to help and support me through my first year, opening doors that I never knew were there.  This person empowered me to do great things. As Dr. Buck stated, she taught to the person I could be. Many of my accomplishments can be traced back to this person.  This person challenged me in my highs and my lows, inspired me, lent me a listening ear, gave suggestions, but most importantly, this person believed in me. This person was my champion, and it all started with a simple hello and helping hand.

I tell this story for two reasons.  First, Dr. Buck and Mrs. Bush shared stories of influential teachers to all the new teachers.  While I’ve had many teachers that impacted me, this person has shaped who I am as a teacher and leader.  She also helped me focus in on my “why” over the years, which is my second reason for telling the story.

So, lets get to the point of this blog post: to introduce myself to all of you.  My name is Ryan Rydstrom and I’m the new Associate Director of Access and Instructional Design.  In this role, I have the great opportunity to work with all of you provide equitable access for all students to high quality curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  Specifically, I will be living in outcomes one and two of the new technology plan (click link to learn more about tech plan).  However, that’s not why I wanted to write this post.  I want to provide you with my why, which I believe will provide you with a glimpse of who I am as a leader, a learner, and a person.

PurposeandPromiseGraphicI do this:

  • Because education is the greatest equalizer Because teaching is the noblest profession Because people matter
  • Because everyone needs and deserves someone to care about them

I am committed to:

  • Bringing a voice to those who do not have one
  • Building the capacity of our administrators to act as leaders of service, learning, and change
  • Supporting the growth and development of our teacher leaders and teacher to better our systems
  • Ensuring all learners are future ready by having personalized experience

My leadership philosophy has morphed and changed over the years, but three tenets have always remained the same.  I am a leader of service, learning, and change.  I seek to empower all stakeholder to reach their greatest potential.  Below I talk about “you” being a “leader.” In my opinion, everyone can be a leader and Brené Brown said it best, “a leader is anyone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.”

Here is my philosophy:

I am here to empower you to reach your greatest potential by being a leader of service, change, and learning in order for you to establish a culture and climate of success for all.

I promise to be authentic, vulnerable, and empathetic. I am your mentor and I care. I am about catering to you and ensuring you become an autonomous thinker and leader. I will accept you and never reject you. I put you first and want you to succeed to your greatest ability. I hope that you become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous and more likely to become a servant leader.

I promise to be a believer, a doer, and a communicator. We will build your capacity. We will build the capacity of our stakeholders by creating a community of learners with a clear vision and goals. Remember, “the quality of the educational system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.” We have the opportunity and obligation to lead. We will learn together, side by side, because it’s imperative for our students.

I promise to be accountable and insightful. I will build a relationship with you. I will be empathetic. Change is scary and “leaders must be able to engage others through a creation of a shared vision.” “We cannot forget that adjustment is not necessarily an easy endeavor,” but we must be courageous enough to take on the challenge. We will do this together by clearly communicating the vision, building relationships and providing support. Remember, “a teacher’s expertise is their greatest asset and their greatest liability.” I look forward to watching you change the world!

I am here for you because you matter and everyone deserves a coach!

To end, I want to thank you for the amazing opportunity CRCSD has provided me.  My role is just another example of our system’s commitment to creating equitable access to ALL environments for ALL students.  Our school system is on the path to something amazing and I’m so overjoyed to be along for the ride. We will change our communities, city, and the state of education because we know the power of we and #weareCRCSD!

Please feel free to reach out to me at any time via email.  You can keep up-to-date and interact with me on Twitter and Instagram at @mrrydstrom.

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