2018

Distinguished Educator

Dawn Ryan

Dawn is a WNY native, graduating from Salamanca High School.  As a young mother volunteering in her children’s school, she realized she wanted to be a teacher, so she spent the next decade attending college nights and summers to earn her BA, Masters, and Administrative certification.  During this time, she taught full-time in K-8 private schools, and she had the good fortune to meet and marry Jim Ryan; together, they raised seven children. She joined the faculty at Hamburg Central School District where she spent twenty-five happy years in the English Departments at the Senior and Junior High.  With her colleagues, Dawn created a reading/writing workshop classroom, an exciting time of professional growth. It was also gratifying to reconnect with K-8 teachers when Dawn became the district Language Arts Teacher-Coordinator, a position she held for four years. After retirement from Hamburg, Dawn worked for SUNY at Fredonia, teaching and supervising student teachers.  Jim and Dawn moved to Colorado in 2000 where Dawn began tutoring, then volunteering at her grandchildren’s elementary school. That led to Colorado certification and the opportunity to become a reading/writing specialist in Boulder Valley School District. Dawn ended her career helping children read and write in a one-room mountain school. Dawn’s most lasting legacy is her daughters, Julie and Vicki, both of whom are currently accomplished teachers, the career they turned to after succeeding in other professions.  Vicki teaches in Boulder Valley School District; Julie is currently a department chair at UB. Since retirement from BVSD, Dawn has enjoyed creating volunteer writing programs in senior centers, hospice, and hospitals, work that has enriched her life. She remains grateful to Hamburg Central School District for the privilege of teaching Hamburg students. It was, in fact, the hardest job she ever loved.