Rick Bryan is clearly thrilled to be named the next headmaster of University School. His enthusiausm shines through as he fondly recalls his days as a student - from developing special bonds with teachers, to being prepared academically, to walking to school as the Shaker campus tower came into view.
“When I attended US I would take the bus from Stratford Road to Fairmount Boulevard, up to Fairmount Circle, and then walk over to the school. You went over a rise and you could see the tower to the school. I was talking to my brother on New Year’s Eve and I was saying: ‘Remember all those times walking there? And now I am running the school!’ It’s just incredible to think I’m doing that.”
Mr. Bryan has had a distinguished career in independent school education. During his 31 years at Nichols School, 19 as headmaster, he left an enduring legacy, transforming the campus with enviable facilites and state-of-the art technology. Former Nichols School Board of Trustee President Bill Gisel described Mr. Bryan’s leadership as characterized by humility, transparency, respect, intellectual curiosity, and most of all a burning passion for education.
“One of Rick’s most valuable attributes is his openness to new ideas and his courage to promote changes,” Mr. Gisel said. His achievements at Nichols School included the construction of a mathematics and science building, a middle school, a performing arts center, and a gymnasium and all-weather fields; the successful completion of three capital campaigns, raising more than $55 million; and the growth of the endowment to $26 million.
In addition to the many brick and mortar accomplishments, Mr. Gisel noted that, “Rick brought to Nichols a warmth, a spirit and sense of community. Thanks to Rick, hundreds of young men and women are living lives they never imagined. Their success is wrapped in a moral fiber that assures they will pay forward to future generations the extraordinary gift he bestowed on them.”
After his retirement from Nichols School in 2013, Mr. Bryan served as president of the board for the New York State Association of Independent Schools, and most recently as the executive director of the Education Collaborative of Western New York, a consortium of 15 independent schools.
“I was beginning to miss the daily life of schools and particularly leading the strategic direction of schools,” Mr. Bryan said. “What captured me when this opportunity came from the Trustees, was the idea of coming back to my old school, being a part of it, and being able to lead it. I really feel this great calling out of ‘responsibility, loyalty, and consideration’ to serve my school, and it is such an honor. Becoming headmaster is an incredible opportunity to advance the institution that did the most to shape me.