Andrew Ryan, until this summer a vice principal at Sonoma Valley High School, is the new principal at Sassarini Elementary School in Sonoma. The Sun’s Sarah Ford chatted with him recently to ask him about his new role.
What are you looking forward to in your new position as Sassarini’s Principal?
I’m really excited to join Sassarini’s staff. They’re a wonderful group of professionals who are truly committed to serving their community. I’ve had the opportunity to work at the middle school and high school levels. I’m grateful to now dive in and support teachers and families on the ground floor, where it all starts. The skills and habits students learn at the primary level set the table for what is to come. That’s very exciting!
How old are your children and where do they attend school?
My children are nine, five, and four. My youngest will join me at Sassarini for preschool this year. Five years ago my wife and I committed our older son to the dual immersion program at Flowery, which has been great for our family. He’s in 4th grade now, and our second child begins Kindergarten there this year.
Will it be fun to work with kids closer in age to your own children? Will you bring some of what you’ve learned from parenting to your job?
Huh, great question. I think it will be very fun working with the little folks. Having children that age is very helpful… and probably a little stressful all at once!
How do you think it will most differ from working with high school students?
Well, for one, the little folks appear to think if you can moon walk, and if you dunk a basketball once, you should either have been in a music video or in the NBA. Instant celebrity status! The older ones make you earn and work for it a little more. All joking aside, kids are kids, and though teenagers won’t always admit it, they need our support, care, and generosity just as much. I look forward to being surprised on a daily basis. I truly enjoyed the past two positions I have had in the district and am grateful to work with this population now. Always learning!
What do you see as Sassarini’s greatest strengths?
The staff. They’ve been outgoing, supportive, collaborative, and dedicated—in fact several workshops were attended by the majority of the teachers this summer.
What challenges do you see ahead?
For me personally, working with a new age group and getting to know them. Also, there is a new Bridges math curriculum, and a fairly new writing curriculum, which are tremendous. But any time you implement new programs and approaches, there’s a learning curve.
What do you think you’ll miss most about SVHS?
Homecoming, graduation practice and, without a doubt, the people. Our high school is a treasure and I can’t wait for my own children to experience the level of expertise, variety, and commitment those teachers and staff bring daily.
Education kind of runs in the family, doesn’t it?
Yes, my mother and wife both teach at Adele, and my brother-in-law is teaching at the high school.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Come and see us whenever you can!