Devils Lake High School principal named North Dakota Principal of the Year
The award annually honors outstanding middle level and high school principals who have provided high-quality learning opportunities for students
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Ryan Hanson, principal of Devils Lake High School, has been named North Dakota Principal of the Year by the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals.
The award, part of the National Association of Secondary School Principals recognition program, annually honors outstanding middle level and high school principals who have provided high-quality learning opportunities for students and have demonstrated exemplary contributions to the profession.
Each state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools, and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity selects one principal for this honor. From this group, three finalists are named as contenders for the National Principal of the Year award and the NASSP national honoree is selected from among the three finalists.
Hanson strives to build relationships throughout the school and community, while assisting every student to become the very best version of themselves, according to a news release.
“His leadership promotes engagement, perseverance and advocacy for self and others,” the release said.
Hanson, who has served as principal of Devils Lake High School since 2004, earned an undergraduate degree from Valley City State University in math education, and completed a master’s degree in educational leadership at UND.
He began his teaching career in 1992 at Center (North Dakota) Public Schools as a high school math and science teacher, along with coaching basketball, speech and golf. Hanson went on to teach math and science and coach basketball, while also leading the academic and science bowl teams and assisting with science fair and academic Olympiad competitions at Divide County High School in Crosby, North Dakota.
Hanson joined the Devils Lake school system in 1998, teaching math and science at Devils Lake High School and the city’s Alternative High School. He also served as head girls basketball coach and an assistant coach for junior high boys basketball, and one year as head girls basketball coach for the Starkweather-Munich (North Dakota) school.
He credits several role models and mentors for instilling qualities of leadership that have informed and enhanced his approach to education and coaching, according to a news release. Among them are Devils Lake Public Schools Superintendent Matt Bakke whose “vision has provided the district with a new direction,” Hanson said.
In his nearly two-decade tenure as Devils Lake High School principal, Hanson has weathered changes in enrollment and staff, he said.
The school offers the widest variety of Advanced Placement and dual credit courses in its history, he said, and students are encouraged to challenge themselves throughout their high school experience, while realizing they can do anything after high school.
Hanson and his wife, Heidi, are parents of four children and one grandchild.