Heather Ryan

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Heather Ryan
Heather Ryan.jpg
Former candidate for
Board Member, Des Moines School Board, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionSeptember 10, 2013
Term limitsN/A
High schoolEast High School
Bachelor'sDrake University
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1992-1996
Date of birthApril 2, 1972
Place of birthDes Moines, Iowa
ProfessionTalent mentor
Campaign website
Heather Ryan campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Heather Ryan unsuccessfully ran for one of two at-large seats on the Des Moines Board of Directors that was up for election on September 10, 2013.


Heather Ryan resides in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband and their two children.[1] Ryan graduated from East High School, which is part of Des Moines Public Schools.[2] She attended Chapman University before receiving a B.A. in political science from Drake University in 2000.[3] Ryan enlisted in the United States Navy in 1992 and achieved the rank of Yeoman Third Class before leaving the service in 1996.[4] She was employed as a membership manager by NARAL Pro-Choice America from 2000 to 2005, campaign manager for congressional candidate Eric Streit from 2005 to 2006, and owner of the Ryan Talent Group from 2005 to the present.[3][4] In 2008, Ryan ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for Kentucky's District 1 seat in the US House of Representatives, but lost in the general election to Republican candidate Edward Whitfield.[3] Ryan has appeared on several television shows, including Party/Party, Toddlers and Tiaras and Eden's World.[2]



See also: Des Moines Public Schools elections (2013)


Connie Boesen and Rob X. Barron defeated incumbent Joe Jongewaard and challengers Heather Ryan and Shane Schulte for two at-large seats in the general election on September 10, 2013.[5][6]


Des Moines Public Schools, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngConnie Boesen Incumbent 24.4% 2,838
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRob X. Barron 23.2% 2,699
     Nonpartisan Joe Jongewaard Incumbent 22.9% 2,671
     Nonpartisan Shane Schulte 19.3% 2,251
     Nonpartisan Heather Ryan 9.2% 1,076
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 1% 120
Total Votes 11,655
Source: Polk County Auditor, "School Board Election," accessed September 14, 2013


During her campaign, no campaign donations or expenditures for Heather Ryan were reported to the Iowa Secretary of State.[7]


Heather Ryan did not receive any official endorsements for her campaign.

Campaign themes

According to Ryan, she "decided to run for school board because I genuinely feel that our students are losing out to all of the scandal of the current school board."[8] Ryan's campaign website listed the following campaign themes for 2013:[9]

  • Providing a more open dialog between the board and parents/concerned citizens.
  • More transparancy regarding the "Open Enrollment Policy."
  • Designating head lice as an "illness"
  • Provide resources and information to parents who cannot afford treatment for their ill child(ren)
  • Expand early education programs
  • Encouraging student, parent and community involvement
  • Changing School Board Election dates to match City Council Elections.
  • Require PTSAs in every school
  • Provide direct contact information on the website for every individual Board Member.
  • Review the policy of armed police officers in DSM Schools.

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

There were four seats on the school board up for election on September 10, 2013. Incumbents Connie Boesen, Teree Caldwell-Johnson and Joe Jongewaard sought re-election to the board while fellow incumbent and current Chair Dick Murphy did not file for re-election, thereby ensuring that the election would result in a change of board leadership. Boesen and Jongewaard faced three challengers for two at-large seats. Rob X. Barron, Heather Ryan and Shane Schulte filed for the at-large race, while Ed Linebach and Toussaint Cheatom filed for the new District 2 seat. Caldwell-Johnson, Darlene Blake and Joel Doyle filed for the new District 4 seat.[10]

On June 12, 2013, Ryan began an anti-incumbent "Bounce the Board" campaign to oust Des Moines Public Schools board chair Dick Murphy and members Connie Boesen and Teree Caldwell-Johnson.[11] Ryan criticized the board as unconcerned with children and arrogant and secretive toward parents. She specifically condemned their refusal to answer questions regarding a letter the board mailed out to parents rejecting requests to open enrollment in the district.[12] Ryan also expressed dissatisfaction with the board's involvement in former Superintendent Nancy Sebring's resignation.[13] Both Boesen and Caldwell-Johnson won re-election to their seats on the board.

About the district

See also: Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa
Des Moines Public Schools is located in Polk County, Iowa
Des Moines Public Schools is located in Polk County, Iowa. The county seat of Polk County is Des Moines. According to the 2010 US Census, Polk County is home to 430,640 residents.[14]


Polk County outperformed the rest of Iowa in terms of its median rates of average household income, poverty and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in Polk County was $57,473 compared to $50,451 for the state of Iowa. The poverty rate in Polk County was 10.6% compared to 11.9% for the entire state. The US Census also found that 33.8% of Polk County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 24.9% in Iowa.[15]

Racial Demographics, 2012[15]
Race Polk County (%) Iowa (%)
White 80.1 88.0
Black or African American 6.4 3.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 0.5
Asian 3.8 2.0
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.1 1.6
Hispanic or Latino 7.9 5.3

Party Affiliation, 2013[16]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 107,630 38.7
Republican 83,853 30.2
Unaffiliated 85,819 30.9
Other 638 0.2

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[17]

Recent news

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Heather Ryan News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Facebook, "Heather Ryan," accessed July 31, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 IMDb, "Biography for Heather A. Ryan," accessed July 31, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Project Vote Smart, "Heather A. Ryan's Biography," accessed July 31, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 LinkedIn, "Heather Ryan," accessed July 31, 2013
  5. Jens Manuel Krogstad, Des Moines Register, "Boesen to seek re-election," July 18, 2013
  6. Mary Stegmeir, Des Moines Register, "Mix of incumbents, challengers to join Des Moines school board," September 10, 2013
  7. IECDB Web Reporting System, "IECDB State/Local Campaign Disclosure Reports," accessed September 9, 2013
  8. Stephanie Moore, WHOtv.com 13, "SCHOOL BOARD: New Candidates Ready To Run," September 4, 2013
  9. Elect Heather Ryan for DSM School Board, "About Heather," accessed August 5, 2013
  10. Des Moines Register, "10 vie for seats on Des Moines school board," August 2, 2013
  11. Bounce the Board, "About," accessed July 30, 2013
  12. Janet Klockenga, Des Moines Register, "Des Moines woman launches campaign to oust 3 city school board members," June 12, 2013
  13. Jens Manuel Krogstad, Des Moines Register, "Boesen to seek re-election," July 18, 2013
  14. United States Census Bureau, "Guide to 2010 Census State and Local Geography - Iowa," accessed July 29, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 United States Census Bureau, "Polk County Quick Facts," accessed July 29, 2013
  16. Iowa Secretary of State, “Voter Registration Totals by County,” accessed July 29, 2013
  17. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014