The oldest son of a physician assistant/retired Major from the U.S. Army and a former nurse-turned-small-business owner, James Ryan learned very early on the value of hard work and sacrifice, especially when times get tough.  Growing up through the Scouting program, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, and joining the Alpha Phi Omega international co-ed leadership and service fraternity — where he met his future wife — James will fondly tell you that service to his community, the nation, and the world is his purpose in life, and a passion he likes to share with everyone he works with.

While he does have years of governing experience under his belt — ranging from economic empowerment, housing development, public health, sustainability and environmental preservation, and public safety — James will also tell you he’s not a career politician; in fact, when he came to begin his teaching career in Springfield years ago, seeking public office was the last thing on his mind.  But after seeing his community becoming more polarized; after seeing the needs of his students and their families ignored as politicians argued; and after working with dedicated community leaders striving for change, James was inspired to return to the work of bringing people together to make Springfield just that much better every day.

James holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Delaware and an M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he studied urban education before helping open up the Springfield Honors Academy, where he teaches AP US History and AP Psychology.  When he’s not teaching, advocating for working families on the executive board of the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation, or developing educational policy with the city’s Gun Violence Elimination Alliance, he’s more than likely spending his time being a huge nerd (James is a big fan of tabletop RPGs and board/card games) at his home in East Springfield, where he lives with his wife (Jessi — also a teacher), their two very-hard-to-pose pit bull/boxer mixes (Sansa and Archer), and their daughter, Arya Rose.