Goddard Assistant Superintendent and 2019-2020 USA-Kansas President, Ryan Jilka unexpectedly passed away recently. Ryan was Maize High Class of 1991, he impacted many lives as a coach, teacher and principal. Ryan Jilka started his career in Goddard Public Schools in 1998 as a 6th grade teacher at Goddard Intermediate Learning Center. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Ryan Jilka was born in Salina, Kansas, he was a longtime resident of Wichita, Kansas. He attended Maize Senior High and graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1997, from Baker University with a Master of Science in K–12 Building Leadership in 2004, and from Fort Hays State University with a District Leadership endorsement in 2020.
Ryan taught social studies at Goddard and Eisenhower Middle Schools from 2000 to 2006, and in the fall of that year, he was appointed assistant principal of that institution. From 2008 to 2010, Ryan worked as the Goddard High School associate principal before taking over as the principal of Discovery Intermediate School in 2010.
During his tenure, Mr. Jilka held numerous leadership positions in the district and across Kansas, including representative for the Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators, mentor for the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute, and most recently, past-president and board member for the United School Administrators of Kansas.
In addition to serving as co-chair of the 2017 bond issue, member of the professional advisory council, member of the supplemental salary committee, and backup hearing officer since 2012, Ryan has served on a number of task forces and committees for USD 265. When Ryan was a teacher in Goddard, he was also the president of the Goddard Education Association, a member of the IBB Negotiations Team, and a representative on the KNEA Political Action Committee.
Ryan has been honored for his dedication to excellence, receiving the Sara McDonald and Ruth Wood Legacy Award in 2019, the KWCA 6A State Wrestling Coach of the Year, the Kansas Wrestling Officials Association Coach of the Year, and the Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators (KAMSA) Exemplary Principal of the Year Award. Discovery Intermediate School received the Governor’s Achievement Award in 2016, the KAMSA High Performing School Award in 2017 and 2014, and the KAMSA Exemplary Middle School Award in 2015 because to Mr. Jilka’s leadership and the dedication of the team.
Ryan Jilka was survived by his wife Kerrie and children Natalie (2015 EHS Alumna), Morgan (2018 GHS Alumna), and McKenna.