May 14, 2019 / E-news
Ryan Ruttan, We the People teacher from Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, was presented with the Kiwanis Educator of the Year Award. Ruttan was nominated by Rancho High School’s assistant principal for the fun and engaging ways that he inspires students and also for his commitment to fostering deep academic and civic engagement in the classroom.
The Educator of the Year program was founded by the Kiwanis Club of Las Vegas in 1992 to recognize outstanding “Unsung Education Heroes” at the High School level in the Clark County School District (CCSD), Nevada.
“In my fifteen years of education, I have not once encountered an educator so committed to and so adept at growing a well-informed and engaged electorate,” said Assistant Principal Lilianna Bonderov.
Ruttan fought for the We the People program at his school when it lost its funding two years ago. By speaking at curriculum meetings and rallying students to share about their We the People experience, Ruttan and his students were able to win over the administration and Bonderov after “seeing seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds argue and debate constitutional values with the same enthusiasm that one might see in a first-year law school class.”
Throughout the school year, Ruttan’s classes focus on academic rigor and civic engagement via debate on the various parts of the Constitution, time spent learning case law related to the Bill of Rights, developing the ability to make relevant connections to current events, and more. “It’s the rigor and academic discourse that educators (and their administrators) dream of,” said Bonderov.
Ruttan’s dedication to his students and their immersion in the We the People program led them to the Nevada state competition this year, their first time attending in the history of the school.
Bonderov credits Ruttan for a shift in the culture and mindset of students, as well as a large increase in student enrollment in AP Government and AP U.S. History classes. “[Students] see the kind of deep learning that happens in his AP classes as ‘rad,’ and they don’t want to be left out. He inspires students to want to know the ins and outs of government and to thoroughly understand development of the United States. They want to talk about politics and law and history and current events for fun.”
Congratulations to Ryan Ruttan for winning Educator of the Year, and thank you for all you do for your students! See some clips from the Educator of the Year awards here.