Popular elementary principal leaving LTUSD

Ryan Galles’ truck in 2010 went from brown to pink. Photo/LTN file

By Kathryn Reed

Ryan Galles is returning to Davis where he moved from in 2008 to become principal of Sierra House Elementary School.

On Friday he announced his plans to his staff and students.

“He is really the main reason I chose Sierra House. I could tell he loved his school and the students. He was so welcoming,” parent Jen Hart told Lake Tahoe News. “I feel like Sierra House is losing a really special person.”

Her daughter, Scarlett, won’t be affected by the departure because she is a fifth-grader. (The last day of school is Tuesday.)

Galles let his school know that on June 15 the Vacaville Unified School District board voted to hire him as director of Educational Services-Elementary. His wife has also secured a job in the area. They will be moving with their two children back to Davis.

In a letter to parents, Galles said, “It is with a heavy, heavy heart as I make this announcement. It has been my honor to serve as principal of Sierra House Elementary School the past nine years. I will count my time at Sierra House as my best years in education. However, there are exciting new opportunities that lay ahead for both my family and me.”

Galles helped turn SHES into the Mountain Academy, with the focus on outdoor education. This came in many forms – from the growing domes to working with Heavenly Mountain Resort to the swim programs through the city.

Galles has never been one of those stuffy principals who only the really good or really bad kids knew. He was able to balance being a leader and a friend.

One year when the students exceeded expectations on the statewide test score he shaved his hair into a Mohawk – as promised. Another year he kept his promise to allow the students to paint his brown truck pink if they did well.

“Ryan Galles has been a very successful and much loved partner in the continued growth of LTUSD. All of the students, parents and staff of Sierra House and the entire district will miss Ryan and wish him and his family the best,” LTUSD board President Barbara Bannar told Lake Tahoe News.

Now LTUSD will be scrambling to find Galles’ replacement before the start of the school year on Aug. 28. Normal hiring time for a position like this is in March-April-May. It’s possible someone could be an interim principal before it is filled permanently.

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