Chad Ryan is the ESOL compliance specialist and boys basketball coach at Horizon West Middle School. He works with ESOL students ensuring they are placed properly and receive the appropriate accommodations to ensure progress with their English acquisition.
This past season was HWMS’ second basketball season, and the team had a tremendous season, going 10-1 and winning the Orange County championship. Coach Ryan was named Jr. NBA Coach of the Year by the Orlando Magic and said it was all made possible because he has amazing students and an amazing assistant by his side. Principal Thomas said the school is proud of his accomplishment and for making school history.
What brought you to your school?
Horizon West Middle School opened its doors in 2019. I was working at Dillard Street Elementary at the time, and my principal, (Michelle) Thomas, was named the new principal of Horizon West Middle. I was fortunate enough to be asked to come to the new school with her as ESOL compliance specialist and boys basketball coach. I was excited about the opportunity to get back into the middle school setting, where I have spent most of my career.
What do you love most about your school?
I love the students at Horizon West Middle. As ESOL compliance specialist, I get to meet so many amazing students and families that are most likely just moving to the area, and the opportunity to assist with their transition is extremely rewarding. The faculty and staff are extremely talented and always willing to go the extra mile for all of our students.
What is your motivation?
My motivation is seeing our students and school succeed academically and athletically. I take the “good of the whole” approach in regards to my school family.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the students and athletes grow, learn and succeed throughout the year.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoy family, friends, cooking, exercising, beaches, concerts and watching sports.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
My favorite teacher growing up was my PE teacher, Mrs. Dale. She is the primary reason I got into education. She was caring, firm, interested in her students succeeding inside and outside of school, and always pushed her students to be their best. I wanted to be that person for kids as an educator. That is what motivates me every day.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
When I was a child, I wanted to be a meteorologist first. I have always been fascinated with weather. My second choice was a teacher and coach and, with that, I found my calling.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies include being active with friends, cooking, and attending sporting events and concerts.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
The superpower I would choose would be the ability to fly. If I could fly, I could get around this Central Florida traffic with ease!
If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and The Weeknd. I am a huge Elton John fanatic; I have collected all 30-plus albums and tons of paraphernalia and have attended eight or nine of his concerts. All the rest are super talented, if not legendary.
What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?
My favorite lunch was mac-n-cheese. My favorite snack was Cheez-Its!
What is your favorite holiday and why?
My favorite holiday is Christmas. I have always loved Christmas decorations, food and being with family.
Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
Travis Duffy was my best friend in high school. We have many common interests, and, yes, we are still in touch. After all these years, you know it’s a good friend.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
I played basketball and baseball in high school. I wasn’t super talented as a player, but I worked hard, did my best and loved the camaraderie of a team.
How long have you been at your school and with OCPS?
I have been in education for 20 years now (Ohio, Kentucky and Florida). I have coached boys basketball for 22-plus years. I have been with OCPS for five years. Prior to that, I spent eight years in Osceola County. I have been at Horizon West Middle since 2019.