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Grapevine-Colleyville ISD superintendent the latest to step down from leadership role in North Texas

Dr. Robin Ryan served 13 years as superintendent for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.

GRAPEVINE, Texas — Another North Texas superintendent is stepping down from their role, adding to the growing list of shifts in leadership across the area. 

Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan announced Friday that he will retire after 38 years in the Texas public education system.

Ryan served 13 years as superintendent for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. His last day will be Jan. 1, 2023, and he will remain an employee until Aug. 31, 2023.

“I am making this announcement now so that the Board of Trustees can have time to begin the selection process for the new superintendent,” Ryan said in a press release. “The incredible level of community and district support we have experienced in GCISD has been a hallmark of our success.”

The school board highlighted achievements that occurred under Ryan’s leadership, including developing an online school, growing programs in STEM learning and for gifted students, and career and technical education.

“On behalf of the board, we highly value the progress made in our school system under Superintendent Ryan’s leadership,” Grapevine-Colleyville Board President Casey Ford said. “Dr. Ryan has been a tireless visionary for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD over the past 13 years.”

Though, along with the district’s accomplishments, has come criticism from parents and students.

RELATED: Grapevine HS students walkout over school's new policy on CRT, books and pronouns 

In August, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD faced both backlash and praise after its board banned the teaching of critical race theory, implementing a strict review of library books and not requiring or encouraging the use of pronouns that are not aligned with the gender assigned at birth.

Following the school board’s vote, Grapevine High School students held a protest. One student said, “These rules are taking away our rights to feel safe and to express ourselves and to be honest about who we are.”

The school district also cut ties with the Scholastic Book Fair because the company didn’t provide a full list of every book it would sell at the fair.

Despite the backlash in recent months, Ryan's said in today's release that the school district’s staff, including teachers and board trustees, “deserve all of the credit for working together as a team for the success of our students.”

School board trustee Coley Canter told WFAA Ryan will leave behind a legacy of academic success.

 "I respected his leadership so much," Canter said. "Dr. Ryan continually and consistently decided to say yes to a lot of things: a stem academy, a gifted academy, a collegiate academy, an opportunity our iUniversity (virtual) prep." 

All three of Canter's children have attended GCISD under Canter's leadership. She declined to comment on whether the board's culture wars may have led to his retirement decision. 

"I do believe he was trying to leave on his own terms," Canter said. "He timed this as best as he could for his family. I couldn’t say one way or the other as to what the influence of the impact of the new board majority has had on his decision-making." 

On Friday, Canter and school board trustee Becky St. John reflected on Ryan's leadership from an education conference in San Antonio.

"Dr. Ryan has a lot of respect amongst trustees and superintendents across the state, and I've been reflecting today on all of the incredible things we’ve done together over more than a decade together at GCISD," St. John said. "That stability and continuity to continue these amazing programs that we have are what have made GCISD a destination district I think is really gonna be key going forward  

During Monday's meeting, the board voted 7-0 to accept Dr. Ryan's retirement. 

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