As the new principal of Alice B. Landrum Middle School, Ryan Player oversees a staff that serves more than 1,100 students in the top-rated St. Johns County School District.
What is a typical day like as principal of Alice B. Landrum Middle School?
There really are no typical days as a middle school principal. However, there are some routines that take place. I feel it is important to be visible to students and staff. Lunch time and class changes are great times to interact with both.
How did you begin your career in education?
I began my career as a 7th grade math teacher in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I was the third teacher in that classroom and learned the value of structure and routines early. I then taught in both a high school and middle school setting. The last 10 years I have been in administration at the high school level.
You previously served as assistant principal and principal at the high school level. Are there differences in leading a middle school?
Yes, the main difference is in what you are preparing middle school students for. While we want to begin preparing our students to be college and career ready, high school is the next step. Our goal is to make sure we align with the high school to help make that transition one that is positive. We are also on the front end of helping our students become self-directed and teaching them how to advocate for themselves.
What do you see as your priorities during your first year at Landrum?
We want to build a culture that ensures academic excellence and promotes, as Dr. Joyner has described, an environment of grace. We are focusing on increasing our technology presence on campus as well as systems for communication.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job is creating experiences beyond the four walls of our classrooms and seeing students excel when given those opportunities. The most challenging part is understanding that funding can’t always be the answer, but instead we must search for innovative ways to accomplish our goals.
If you could let local residents know one thing about Landrum Middle School, what would it be?
We have a dedicated staff that are passionate about our school, and our students are some of the best kids I have worked with.
How are you enjoying living in Ponte Vedra?
We moved to live as close to the beach as we can and we are taking full advantage of it. Ponte Vedra Beach has a small-town feel and we are settling in comfortably. We now understand why people want to keep PVB a secret.