The Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), along with the Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals (CASSP), are proud to name Cherry Creek High School principal, Ryan Silva, the 2021 Colorado
High School Principal of the Year. Silva was selected through a highly selective process coordinated by a committee of his peers and former award winners.
With nearly 4,000 students, Cherry Creek High School is the largest in Colorado. But despite the enormous student population, Silva has managed to foster innovation and community empowerment, implementing strategies to create an inclusive and close-knit culture where unique student needs are addressed, and leadership opportunities are available for those who want them.
“They say that the success of a school begins and ends with the leader at the helm,” said CASE Executive Director, Bret Miles. “But through his care, thoughtfulness and unwavering commitment to his staff and students, Ryan makes it look easy. His leadership is exemplary, and I’m thrilled that his accomplishments are being recognized.”
Silva’s leadership is marked by a track record of encouraging everyone in the community to grow as leaders. Part of that strategy, then, is to offer ample opportunity for diverse voices to be heard. When Silva first joined Cherry Creek High School as principal 12 years ago, he set out to make sure student voices were prioritized. He introduced the annual Student Perception Survey, a chance for students to provide teacher feedback. He created decision-making boards where students can “take ownership in their school,” by sitting on committees like the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, or the Principal’s Advisory Council, among several others. He also ensured that student voices were represented on hiring committees for every position available, because, in his words, the hiring group needs to be “representative of the school population.”
Along with his emphasis on personal leadership, Silva has worked to create processes and practices that value and model diversity, equity and inclusion practices at their core.