Mary Jean Ryan is a former nonresident senior fellow


Mary Jean Ryan

Nonresident Senior Fellow – Brookings Metro

Mary Jean Ryan’s career includes in-depth experience and leadership posts in several domestic policy areas, including education policy (early learning through higher ed), small business finance, economic development, and workforce development. Ryan is interested in place-based federal policy aimed at helping communities achieve broadly shared prosperity. She works as a Senior Policy Consultant for a variety of government and non-profit clients and does research and writing on policy topics of interest. Recently, Ryan has begun to work in her local community and at the state level on issues related to forest conservation. She currently serves on the board of the Center for Responsible Forestry.

Ryan founded the Community Center for Education Results (CCER), a Seattle-based nonprofit, for which she served as the Executive Director from 2010 until March 2020. CCER started and staffed the Road Map Project, a collective impact initiative working to dramatically improve student achievement from cradle through college in South King County and South Seattle.

Prior to starting CCER, Ryan served in the Nickels Administration as the City of Seattle’s Director of the Office of Policy and Management. Prior to that Ryan was Seattle’s Economic Development Director having established that office for Mayor Norman B. Rice. Ryan also served in the Clinton Administration as the Small Business Administration (SBA) Associate Deputy Administrator for Economic Development working for SBA Administrator Erskine Bowles. Ryan also served on the Washington State Board of Education from 2006 to 2014. Ryan was appointed to that post by former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire.

Ryan holds a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.P.A from the University of Southern California. Ryan is a member of the Georgetown University Athletic Hall of Fame.

  • Past Positions

    • Founding Executive Director, Community Center for Education Results
    • Washington State Board of Education
    • Director, City of Seattle – Office of Policy and Management
    • Director, City of Seattle – Office of Economic Development
    • Associate Deputy Administrator for Economic Development, U.S. Small Business Administration
    • Director, Office of Economic Development, City of Seattle
    • Executive Director, Evergreen Community Development Association
  • Education

    • University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA – M.P.A
    • Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. – B.A.
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