Ryan Neill is a former Operations manager (and recreational rugby player) who came to New Classrooms ready to make a difference through personalized learning.
As a School Accounts Manager on our fun-loving Scheduling Operations team, Ryan plays a critical role in ensuring that we generate and deliver schedules that result in optimal learning opportunities for each student we serve.
Learn more about his journey to New Classrooms and how he supports our mission through his work.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a member New York’s premier inclusive rugby club, we were just number two internationally at our international cup in Amsterdam. That’s how I got a scar on my eye. I had to get nine stitches.
What about the field of education interests you?
My interest in education comes from a social justice lens. I see the potential education has to alleviate a lot of problems in society and to help people.
I always knew that education is important. Where I grew up in, there was a school located in a predominantly low income neighborhood that was surrounded by working class and affluent communities. When the school closed, neither of the surrounding communities would allow the displaced students to attend their schools. Instead, the students were forced to go to school over state lines in Ohio. That was my first exposure to education as a social justice issue. That was the spark that caused me to become more and more interested in education.
What brought you to New Classrooms?
I was working at a charter school, looking into next steps. During my search, I became interested in education technology. At my previous job, we were manually trying to create this idea of personalized learning. Clearly, we didn’t have the resources for an individualized approach, but we tried to achieve it through small groups and meeting students where they were. It was interesting to see how that was being done using technology at New Classrooms. I was excited to be able to use technology to accomplish what I did manually where I was working.
In layman’s terms, what is Scheduling Operations?
To put it simply, we have the algorithm that optimizes schedules for individual students, everyday. Scheduling Operations is the human element between that algorithm and the schools. Our job is to ensure that there is a balance of learning modalities and that every student’s learning experience is personalized.
Scheduling Operations is known for their unique team culture. How would you describe your teammates and the culture you cultivated?
My team is full of detailed oriented people that sometimes need a break from that detail oriented-ness. As a team, we decided to add a bit of fun and absurdity to our day-to-day work. Sometimes we just need to talk about (and eat) different flavors of Oreos or to conduct a survey about Disney movies. (A recent poll awarded cranberry sauce the best Thanksgiving side dish.) We all have that silliness that allows us to have fun while also getting our work done.
What have you learned since joining our team?
I came in very dewy-eyed, thinking I was going to change the world and I now realize that education is such a behemoth with some much to change and fix. It’s really hard to even do what we do, but we are still building and I can see it all improving. We have made leaps and bounds, but there is still so much work to be done.