She may have been hired as an English teacher at Thoreau, but most will remember Christine Ryan as the person who energized the middle school’s students in the drama department. After 30 years of teaching in this region, 24 of them at Thoreau, Ryan has decided to retire from teaching.
Ryan, who started teaching when she was 20 years old, said she is young enough to pursue a different career. "Fashion interests me, music interests me," she said. She studies voice, and released a CD a couple of years ago. "That’s something I might pursue when I retire," said Ryan.
"She will be a major loss to this building," said Maggie Rasnic, an administrator for student services at Thoreau. "She always rises to every occasion you ask," said Rasnic. She said that Thoreau instituted a journalism class three years ago, and Ryan was asked to teach the class, even though she had never taught journalism before. Rasnic said the class was a success. "She’s just a phenomenal teacher. Anything she does, you couldn’t find anybody who could do it better," said Rasnic. "She won’t do anything without doing it right."
Principal Mark Greenfelder also said Ryan would be missed. "She has been an institution here at Thoreau," said Greenfelder.
RYAN REMEMBERS the energy of the students when she first started at Thoreau. That energy has kept up for 24 years. "You have to always be ready, there are no down days," said Ryan.
Rasnic said Ryan was always ready to tackle the day’s work with a smile. She also never had a bad hair day, added Rasnic. "She’s a model for other teachers," said Rasnic.
Ryan, also a Vienna resident, said that she stayed at Thoreau for 24 years because she loved working with the students. "It keeps you young," said Ryan. She also loved the greater Thoreau community, and said the parents and the entire community were always supportive of the school.
The support was evident during last week’s production of "High School Musical," when Thoreau sold nearly 500 tickets, the maximum, for each of the performances. The play featured 70 students. "It was quite a play to go out on," said Ryan.
Although she will not miss getting up at five o’clock in the morning, Ryan said she would have to see how she adjusts to life outside of the school building. She said it was the right time for her to retire. "I always said I’d know when to stop," she said.
Ryan added that teaching is a fabulous profession, and she is glad to have been a teacher for 30 years. "I am proud of my work," said Ryan.