By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — Beginning in late June, St. Paul the Apostle Principal Dan Ryan will take a big step forward in his career by becoming the Sioux City Diocese’s new superintendent of Catholic schools.
Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese said he was very impressed with Ryan during the interview process and from all the comments he had heard from others.
Bishop Nickless said he was looking for a new superintendent to take Catholic education in a new direction and revitalize its schools. “I wanted someone with new ideas. A new vision.”
He believes he has found that in Ryan. “Dan seems to be young enough to sense the real need and real future for Catholic schools.” Ryan’s experience as both a teacher and administrator helped as well.
Ryan’s objective, as a superintendent, is to spread the faith through spiritual and academic ways. “During the interview process he expanded on that — spreading the Catholic faith,” Bishop Nickless said.
Another thing that impressed him about Ryan is that Ryan is “a man of prayer.
“We look forward to having him here. It will be exciting to have a fresh face.”
The Sioux City Diocese has 27 Catholic schools spread throughout its geographical area. Ryan said it won’t be easy leaving St. Paul the Apostle, but he will be fulfilling a goal to become a superintendent of Catholic schools.
He earned his superintendent license two years ago and has been working closely with Mary Wieser, superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Davenport. “She has been generous to me in taking me to training sessions and meetings to help me develop as an administrator and get this job,” he said.
In addition, he has been doing curriculum work for schools in the diocese. Through that experience, he has worked with the various principals in the diocesan schools.
Ryan started as a teacher, and then served as an assistant principal and special education teacher before coming to the diocese. He was principal for two years at the former Aquinas Catholic School in Fort Madison (now part of the Holy Trinity Catholic School System) before coming to St. Paul the Apostle six years ago.
Since earning his superintendent license, Ryan said he and his wife, Michelle, have talked about when and where they would be willing to move. “I strictly wanted to be a superintendent for Catholic schools,” he said.
With their oldest daughter getting ready to enter high school in the next school year, the couple decided now would be a good time to seek a position.
In addition to an incoming freshman, the Ryans have three other children who will be entering fifth grade, kindergarten and 3-year-old preschool.
The Sioux City position also has a benefit for the family. The couple grew up in the Council Bluffs area, which is not far away in the Des Moines Diocese.
Ryan said his experience at Aquinas and St. Paul’s helped him learn a great deal about being a better Catholic school administrator.
He thanks Father Michael Spiekermeier for strongly supporting St. Paul’s and being very accessible to work with.
“St. Paul’s has been so warm and receptive and I thank them for that,” Ryan said.