As he begins his third year as superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, Bill Ryan says one of the things he is most proud of is the strong Catholic identity of those schools.

“Our schools are truly Catholic and dedicated to the mission of the Church,” he said. “The ‘Joy of the Gospel’ is witnessed to every day in our schools.”

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to 93 early learning, elementary and secondary Catholic schools – some independent and most sponsored by the archdiocese – located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s. The schools serve nearly 27,000 students.

“The reason why we have parents who are committed to a Catholic education is that they have found our schools to be the right place for their children,” Ryan said. “They (the parents) see in our schools faith, a sense of family and a strong education that will serve their children for a lifetime.”

Ryan said this academic year the Catholic Schools Office is rolling out a new strategic plan that will be fully implemented over the next five years. He said the plan was two years in the making and included meeting with teachers, principals and parents and working with the Archdiocesan Board of Education to formulate an action plan in line with the four pillars of Catholic education. Those pillars are: Catholic identity; academic excellence; accessibility and affordability; and governance.

Among the parts of the plan are a new teacher evaluation tool, an enrollment management and marketing plan, a Latino student enrollment plan, a new principal evaluation tool and ongoing collaboration with pastors.

“All of this is about supporting our schools,” Ryan said. “There is a sense of tradition and family in our schools, and there is value in a strong faith-based education.”

The superintendent added, “We are excited about the new school year, and we are excited about our role to help and support parents in passing on the faith and meeting the expectations they have for their kids’ academics.”

Ryan came to the Archdiocese of Washington in 2015 after 30 years in public education, including serving as the employee performance and evaluation officer for Prince George’s County Public Schools.

A native of Pennsylvania, Ryan graduated from Bloomsburg University. He moved to Maryland in 1985 and began working as a seventh grade social studies and math teacher in Charles Carroll Middle School in New Carrollton.

During his time there, Ryan was recognized as a teacher of the year for Prince George’s County. He later became vice principal at Carroll Middle School before being named principal of Eisenhower Middle School in Laurel from 1994-98.

Ryan then became the principal of High Point High School in Beltsville for six years, and earned the 2002-03 Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award.

From 2004-10, Ryan served as principal of River Hill High School, where in 2009 he was recognized by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals as the best high school principal in the state.