BA ’98, Creighton University; MPA ’08, University of Nebraska Omaha
Des Moines, Iowa
Ryan Wise is the director of the Iowa Department of Education. Named the 2017 Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of State Boards of Education, he is a member of numerous state boards and committees focused on education and workforce development. He co-chairs the board charged with developing a mental health system for Iowa’s children.
Wise started his career as a high school history teacher in Nebraska and Mississippi. He went on to serve as founding executive director of Teach for America in South Dakota, where he focused on improving education on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. He was also a founding staff member of Teach For All, which aims to enhance educational opportunities in under-resourced schools worldwide.
Part of the first cohort of Harvard’s Doctor of Education Leadership (EdLD) program, Wise joined the Iowa Department of Education as a senior fellow during his EdLD residency year. His capstone project led to one of his signature achievements, the launch of Iowa’s nationally recognized teacher leadership and compensation system.
An active alumnus, he is a member of the Harvard Club of Central Iowa and an alumni interviewer for Harvard College.
“As a career educator and public servant, I am energized by the Overseers’ impact in ensuring Harvard’s place as the global leader in research, education, and service. I have devoted my professional life to improving educational opportunities for students, and I would be thrilled to have this chance to serve Harvard.”
He and his wife, Sacha Wise, have two children.