Paris 95 hires new Superintendent of Schools

After months of searching, new district leadership set to take office July 1


After months of anticipation, the Paris 95 Board of Education named the district’s new superintendent. Mary Morgan Ryan, the Assistant Superintendent of Technology, Communication, and Data Services at TrueNorth Educational Cooperative 804, signed a multi-year contract with Paris 95 to accept the position during a special board meeting on Monday, April 29.

Paris 95 BOE President Kevin Knoepfel welcomed Morgan Ryan with the following statement.

“The Paris Union School District 95 board is excited to announce the selection of Mary Morgan Ryan as the district’s next superintendent. Ms. Morgan Ryan will officially begin work on July 1, 2024.

The board is confident that Ms. Morgan Ryan’s experience and skills will propel Paris Union School District 95 forward in supporting every student, every opportunity, every day.

Ms. Morgan Ryan comes to the district from TrueNorth Educational Cooperative 804 in Highland Park, where she has served as Assistant Superintendent of Technology, Communication, and Data Services.

Education is a second career for Ms. Morgan Ryan, who earned a JD/MBA from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and practiced consumer credit law. 

After graduating from the University of Michigan with her B.S., she taught several elementary grades and served as a school librarian in Community Consolidated School District 181 in Hinsdale, Ill. After an interim position as Digital Learning Coordinator, she moved to TrueNorth to continue her leadership in technology. She joined the cooperative as the Director of Next Generation Technology and Data Services and was then named Assistant Superintendent for Technology, Communication, and Data Services.                  

Morgan Ryan has a Master of Arts in Teaching from National-Louis University, as well as a Masters in Educational Leadership and an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership degree, both from Concordia University Chicago.

The Board of Education invites the community to join them in extending warm congratulations and a hearty welcome to Ms. Morgan Ryan as the new District 95 Superintendent of Schools.”

The announcement comes after the district began its superintendent search in February, assisted by the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Morgan Ryan will hold the collective gaze of the community once she steps into office on July 1. Alongside her board, she will have to navigate the financial straits of the district’s misappropriation of $3.24 million in grant funding, which first came to light in June 2023.

The incident resulted in the district’s former superintendent, Jeremy Larson, being placed on paid administrative leave for several months. In late December 2023, Paris 95 and Larson reached a mutual separation agreement.

Recently, an additional $487,115.76 in misappropriated funds was reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), bringing the total amount of money owed to granting agencies to roughly $3.7 million.

While Morgan Ryan is aware of the district’s situation, she is confident her previous experience in finance law, budget management and staffing has prepared her for the moment.

“I feel like my background has uniquely prepared me for Paris,” Morgan Ryan told a Prairie Press reporter. “When I looked at the position and… the status of the district and the reason we're looking for a new superintendent, I have a thread of finance that runs through my jobs since college… So that aspect of it really seemed to me like what I have to offer is a good match.”

Morgan Ryan is not only experienced in the financial realm, but also the educational sphere. As a former teacher, she hopes to balance a focus on the classroom with a commitment to the monetary health of the district.

“I want to make sure that I'm abreast of what's happening in classrooms, and I'm really excited about that!” she said. “And then equally as important, we have to make sure that our finances are in order.”

The new superintendent assured that continued implementation of the feedback from the district’s payback plans is of utmost importance to her. Morgan Ryan also hopes to improve the district’s financial rating with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

More than anything, Morgan Ryan looks forward to moving to Paris and getting her feet wet come July 1. She explained that she has already talked to local residents in her visits to the area, and her interactions with community members have been uplifting and encouraging.

“I am really, really happy to be moving to Paris. I have visited the community and talked to people about the school district, and everyone has been supportive and positive about the school district,” she explained. “What I want people to know is that I'm excited to become part of the Paris community.”

Paris 95, superintendent, grants, hire