Janice E Ryan
Life long advocate for special education, social justice, and criminal justice reform. Member of the Sisters of Mercy. Was Professor of Education and then President of Trinity College of Vermont (1979-1996). Served as Education Director for U.S. Senator James Jeffords. Became the Deputy Commissioner of Corrections for the State of Vermont in 2003.
Date of Birth09/14/1936
ReligionRoman Catholic; Sisters of Mercy
Sister Janice Ryan was born on a dairy farm in Fairfield, Vermont on September 14, 1936. In 1950, she moved to Burlington, Vermont to attend high school at Mount St. Mary's Academy. During her last year there, she joined the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy. She went on to receive a B.A. in English from Trinity College of Vermont and a Masters of Education in Special Education from Boston University.
Ryan began teaching at Cathedral Elementary and Junior High School in Burlington (1956-1965) and then became the Director of Diagnostic and Pre-School Program for Handicapped Children at Trinity College of Vermont. From there, Ryan became a Professor of Education and then the President of Trinity College (1979-1996). Upon leaving Trinity College, Ryan went to Washington, D.C. where she worked to promote fairness and justice. She served as Director of Justice Education and Interfaith Relations under The Justice Project; the Education Director for U.S. Senator James Jeffords; and Project Director of the Catholic Campaign to Ban Landmines. She was influential in the passage of the Vermont Special Education Law and pushed to have it used as the prototype for Congress in developing the nation's special education law. Ryan was also involved with a group that focused on the death penalty and "The Innocent Protection Act," which motivated states to collect DNA from all incarcerated individuals.
Ryan has traveled extensively, has presented at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria and was a member of the visiting team at the University of Novorad, Russia. She toured Croatia and Yugoslavia with Catholic Relief Services, and was an invited participant on Vietnam Veterans of America's trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. Ryan also participated in a Friendship Tour of Moscow, Leningrad, and Latavia and took part in a three-week experimental living program in Cochabamba, Brazil.
In 2003, Ryan became the Deputy Commissioner of Corrections for the State of Vermont and has since retired. In this position, she oversaw nine Department of Corrections facilities in Vermont and the Vermonters incarcerated in three other states. Ryan also oversaw twelve field offices for Probation and Parole and the Furlough program. In 2006, she was one of four Vermont natives who have celebrated 50 years as a Sister of Mercy. In their honor, the State of Vermont House of Representatives passed H.C.R. 367. Ryan is currently a part of the Fellows Program and the International Women's Forum Leadership Foundation.
Organizations or Movements
- Fellows Program
- International Women's Forum Leadership Foundation
- Sisters of Mercy
- The Justice Project
- Catholic Campaign to Ban Landmines
- Criminal justice reform
- Catholic Relief Services
- Vietnam Veterans of America
- Deputy Commissioner of Corrections for the state of Vermont
- Teacher at Cathedral Elementray and Junior High School in Burlington (1956-1965)
- Director of Diagnostic and Pre-School Program for Handicapped Children at Trinity College of Vermont
- Professor of Education and then President of Trinity College (1979-1996)
- Director of Justice Education and Interfaith Relations under the Justice Project
- Education Director for U.S. Senator James Jeffords
- Project Director of the Catholic Campaign to Ban Landmines
- Mount St. Mary's Academy
- B.A. in English from Trinity College of Vermont, (1965)
- M.A. of Education in Special Education from Boston University