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Springfield, MO

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2018 40 Under 40: Ryan Lacson, 36

Science teacher, Galena R-II School District

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Ryan Lacson is all about innovation. Throughout his 10-year teaching career, he has developed new methods to help students succeed, emphasizing soft skills and content and helping them see real-world connections to what they learn in the classroom. With this approach, he’s managed to increase the number of students who continue on to post-secondary education.

Lacson has taken that spirit of innovation from the classroom to the volleyball court and collaborated with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board to develop youth volleyball leagues. He’s currently working with Heart of America Volleyball to develop a training method for new volleyball officials. Ryan also recently received the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for the state of Missouri.

What’s your most treasured possession? My first Starbucks gold card from 2005. The first time I used it was with a fellow Starbucks addict on a first date – who I ended up proposing to three years later in a Starbucks.

What do you miss most about the 1990s? Low gas prices. I remember turning 16 and being able to get gas for 69 cents per gallon.

What about your job would shock people? They would be shocked to see the environments many of our kids go home to every night, and still expect them to be at their best, ready to learn the next day. Coupled with the nonsensical lack of educational innovation over the last several decades, it’s no wonder so many of our students aren’t ready for post-secondary life.

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