Sean Ryan has been a third grade, fourth grade, and is currently serving as a fifth grade teacher at DeMiguel Elementary School. The changes Sean brought to DeMiguel are a model for other schools to follow. He helped transition DeMiguel from a school where students had very few science learning and modeling opportunities, and very few outdoor learning opportunities, to a school where all students are receiving yearly, and in many cases, monthly or weekly exposure to science and outdoor learning concepts. He has helped change the science fair to a more student-led and directed event, with student-judge interaction during the presentations.


Sean coordinates the two week-long annual STEAM Festival, including the showcase night for parents and the community, and the extra hands-on experiments done with all students in the school. DeMiguel is building a strong reputation for its school wide engagement in STEAM activities including the all-grade-level airplane flying contest.

Sean has served as the Science Fair Coordinator at his school as well as the Landscape and Outdoor Resource committee leader, the Nature Trail coordinator, and the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) Program coordinator. He coordinates many of the science-related guest speakers for his school, and he coaches the NASA STEM Club. During the summer, he serves as a teacher for Camp Invention, a STEM summer program. Sharing the vision of DeMiguel becoming a STEM school, Sean has led the charge. He has chaired the Science Committee for 8 years. He has been committed to building capacity within the school as well as our DeMiguel staff and Flagstaff community. He takes initiative and wrote grants for the school gardening projects and Environmental Science Area (outside classroom).

Sean also reached out to NAU and community members, to meet and organized projects with various groups that had offered to volunteer in the school, such as, NJHS and Eagle Scouts. He reaches out and offers assistance to staff members that are unclear of how to bring STEM into their classrooms.

Sean has led professional development to fellow staff and led parent meetings to ensure the STEM vision was shared and to gain information of what was still needed at DeMiguel. Sean organizes and plans monthly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) meetings and takes the time to meet with all the DeMiguel stakeholders.

Sean’s knowledge base of curriculum implementation and differentiation gives him an added bonus. His hard work and collaboration are what help make DeMiguel’s programs successful. He planned and implemented many new projects within the school and they will continue after his departure. Sean focuses on his students’ success as the driving factor in instructional decisions. He is creating leaders. He has helped many students take on leadership roles and become involved in caring for the school property, gardens, and nature trail, and has begun recruiting alumni to come back and help create a sustainable program that will last well into the future. Sean models and promotes leadership in others. Besides his efforts toward increasing science and STEAM education, he coordinates the Veteran’s Day Ceremony, is the Running Club Coach, and he is a frequent mentor teacher for both NAU Teach and the NAU PDS program. He served as the Elementary Representative for the Interest Based Strategies (IBS) negotiations committee, and had recently served as the building representative for the Flagstaff Education Association.

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