Ryan Strain to run unopposed for Germantown Board of Education

By , Daily Memphian Updated: September 10, 2020 8:57 PM CT | Published: September 10, 2020 8:47 PM CT

Despite having no opposition in his run for the Germantown Board of Education, Ryan Strain is still campaigning so the community knows him before he begins serving in Position 1.

Four petitions pulled for Germantown’s municipal election

Strain, an attorney at Baker Donelson, knows his experience can help make decisions in the best interest of students. 

<strong>Ryan Strain</strong>

Ryan Strain

”I think we have got an amazing board with views from lots of different segments in the community. I consider all the data in front of me,” he said. “I like communication. I want to communicate with all different stakeholders in the district and take all that information, talk with our experts and use that to make the best decision I can.”

He wants to make sure the public feels “comfortable” with him as he begins his first four-year term on the school board.

“I’m so impressed with our district and want to be a part of that success,” he said. “It matters to me that the schools are good and run effectively.”

Strain and his wife have three sons, two of whom are Dogwood Elementary students. Strain was also a Dogwood student before attending Houston Middle and Houston High. He left Germantown for a short time after graduation but moved back in 2017. The schools were a large part of choosing the suburb.

He soon became part of the Parent Teacher Organization and Dogwood Dads, where he gained insight of district leadership. He also closely watched meetings when he became the PTO’s legislative liaison. He’s had a desire to serve the community and believes it is the best time to do it.

When he looks at the next four years, he knows COVID-19 is likely the ongoing challenge.

“Certainly in my lifetime this has been the biggest issue facing schools,” Strain said. “I think GMSD has done a very good job considering all the changes and all the difficulties. I just want to make sure – whether by policy or discussion with the district staff — that we are able to help the district stay flexible and adjust to what may come.”

He realizes there may be “growing pains” with the new virtual and hybrid learning methods. He recognizes health officials could ask school to go remote if community spread increases.

“We need to create as much stability as we can in an unstable environment,” he said.

Strain recognizes Germantown is a leading district in the state and should continue striving toward that level. 

“We need to be able to every day wake up and have that goal in mind,” he said, noting it can take time. “I think that gives us a more prominent voice in the state and allows us to advocate for positive changes.”

He complimented the board’s resolution opposing TNReady testing this year.

Germantown education leaders formalize stance on state testing amid pandemic

“They are taking initiative. I applaud their foresight” he said, noting it’s a desire in the best interest of children.

As the current board finishes crafting the new strategic plan, Strain recognizes it will help drive decisions across his first term. The framework will help give direction when unanticipated challenges arise.

Germantown has 65 less students than last year, and that can affect future funding.

“I don’t want to see our teachers or staff do more with less. They are already pushing past the resources they have,” Strain said emphasizing there should be alternative sources if funding decreases. 

School construction postponed as Germantown grapples with financial effects of COVID-19

The city’s board provides some funding to the district and he recognizes they are most effective when working together with city leaders.

“What is good for the schools is good for the city,” Strain said. “The two boards need to work together for the best of the of all of Germantown.”

He believes residents want to see a strong relationship between the two boards and wants to do his part to strengthen that relationship.

“We can get along and still do what’s better for each of our groups we are serving,” he said.

Strain understands the board’s hesitancy to provide funding for Houston Middle this year due to uncertain revenues, but he is excited to see it move forward when the city provides the necessary funding. 

One issue board members discussed previously is adding a student board member in an advisory non-voting role as state law allows. 

Germantown exploring adding student adviser to education board

“Everything we do affects students,” he said. “We have great smart students that are going to be able to tell us what’s working well.”

He said as students learn through the hybrid and virtual model, it would be helpful to hear directly from them.

School board candidates serve at-large. Strain will take the seat currently held by Linda Fisher, who decided to not seek reelection.

Incumbent Amy Eoff is running unopposed for Position 5 on the suburban board. Brian Curry and Scott Williams are vying for Position 3.


Ryan Strain Germantown Board of Education Dogwood Elementary School Municipal Elections 2020 Germantown Election 2020
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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