Ryan Saunders did not always know he wanted to be an educator.
Initially, Saunders had dreams of going to veterinarian school but when he volunteered at the elementary school in his hometown of Chappell, Nebraska. he saw a different career path.
“Mostly, it was to try to get out of a couple of classes as a senior, but it ended up working out and being something I really enjoyed and went over well,” Saunders said. “I started volunteering at my elementary school and realized this was probably what I needed to do for my career.”
Saunders has taught kindergarten and fourth grade and has worked in curriculum and in administration.
He said the transition from classroom teacher to administrator was a relatively easy one but that he did the miss the classroom environment at first.
“I think anybody who really loves teaching, when they make that change away from a group of kids that are theirs or that they’re their teacher, that was a shift,” Saunders said.
Saunders said he is looking forward to building relationships when he steps into his new role on July 1.
“This is a people business it’s driven by people who are passionate and care deeply about the work and I feel that my leadership style leans into that heavily,” Saunders said.
Saunders said he quickly learned how to build relationships with kids as an administrator because of the value in the relationship with kids.
“I just had to do it differently than I did when I was their classroom teacher,” Saunders said.
Now, after spending 19 years in Millard Public School, Saunders is taking a new role as the superintendent of Springfield Platteview Community Schools.
He said the potential for growth and the district’s relationship with local businesses and several large corporations such as Facebook and Google are some of the factors that drew him to SPCS.
“One of the most exciting things that’s ahead for us is that growth,” Saunders said.