The Brooklyn City Schools are home to caring and dedicated staff members who make a positive impact on our students every day. To recognize their contributions, the District will be spotlighting individual teachers and staff on a regular basis. Please read the article below to learn more about a member of our Hurricane Staff Family!
Throughout her forty-four-year career in education, including the past thirty-three years as a member of the Brooklyn City Schools family, Mrs. Mary Ellen Ryan has had the opportunity to live out what she considers to be her vocational calling. From a young age, she has possessed a desire to teach others, demonstrated by her playing “teacher” with her dolls as a young girl. Mary Ellen was also inspired to pursue an educational career through the example of her two older brothers who followed the same career path, as well as working as a Water Safety Instructor at the Brooklyn Pool during high school. After considering a high school counselor’s recommendation to pursue a different path due to the large number of statewide education program graduates, Mary Ellen followed the encouragement of her mother to pursue a career in Elementary Education.
While attending Cleveland State University, an institution where she obtained both a Bachelor’s degree, and later, a Master’s degree, Mrs. Ryan student taught 5th grade at the now closed Brookridge Elementary School building in Brooklyn. She began her education career working for schools in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, spending eleven years altogether at St. Thomas More, Holy Family, and St. Charles Elementary Schools. A native of the City of Brooklyn, Mrs. Ryan was excited when she obtained a teaching position in the Brooklyn City Schools. As a teacher in the District, Mrs. Ryan taught third grade for the first twenty-five years, followed by seven years teaching second grade, including the 2019-2020 school year. She has also taught fourth, seventh, and eighth grade during her education career.
For the 2020-21 school year, Mrs. Ryan took a sabbatical from teaching for personal reasons, and will be retiring in June 2021. Looking back on her education career, Mary Ellen is filled with pride and a deep sense of appreciation for the opportunity to teach in the Brooklyn City Schools. She expresses gratitude for the many friendships she has made over the years, the professional knowledge and opportunities gained throughout her career, and how her life has been enriched by working with so many great colleagues and fellow staff members in the Brooklyn City Schools. For Brooklyn teachers and staff, the feeling of respect and gratitude is mutual.
“Mary Ellen was always the first person in the building every morning and one of the last to leave. She is always positive and calm, even in difficult conversations. Even though she hasn't been in the building this year, she would still send me messages encouraging me and letting me know how well I was doing," shared Brooklyn School Principal Cristin Cicco. “Mary Ellen is truly a teacher that touches everyone's life that comes in contact with her. She is a rare gem that is hard to replace. Her spirit and love for Brooklyn will always be felt.”
A resident of Brooklyn for most of her life, Mary Ellen has enjoyed the unique opportunity to connect with students not only in-school, but during daily life activities inside the community. Mrs. Ryan also cherishes being able to make a positive impact on the lives of students, and the privilege of working with former students, both as student-teachers and fellow staff members.
While she has no concrete plans for retirement, Mary Ellen plans to continue to enjoy spending time with her family, walking, swimming, and watching movies. She hopes to visit a tropical beach in the near future once travel becomes safer.
On behalf of the Brooklyn City Schools, thank you to Mary Ellen Ryan for her dedicated contributions on behalf of our students, staff, and families, and best wishes in her forthcoming retirement!