University of Iowa

Ryan Wise

Role: Department of Education and Parent

Governor Terry Branstad appointed Ryan Wise as the director of the Iowa Department of Education on July 1, 2015. Wise previously served as deputy director. He led the development and implementation of Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation System (TLC), the most extensive teacher leadership system in the nation.

Wise has made improving education the focus of his career. He was managing director for growth strategy and development for Teach for All from 2008-2010. He was the founding executive director of Teach for America in South Dakota from 2003-2008, where he worked with both public and Bureau of Indian Affairs grant schools on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. He spent the first five years of his career as a history teacher at Omaha Central High School in Omaha, Neb., and Rosa Fort High School in Tunica, Miss.

Wise earned his undergraduate degree and teacher certification from Creighton University. He received a Master of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2008. He earned a doctorate of education leadership from Harvard University in 2013.

Ryan and his wife, Sacha, reside in Des Moines. They have two children, Weston and Graham, who attend their neighborhood public school.