The Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association (RISSA) Presents Crowley Award to Veteran Legislator and Education Leader RI Senator Ryan W. Pearson

Senator Pearson is a lifelong resident of Cumberland. As a high school student, he
joined a student organization named Save Our Schools to rally support for a bond
referendum to make needed improvements to Cumberland High School, which stood on
the verge of losing accreditation due to severe facility deficiencies. Following the
passage of the bond, Ryan sought and won election to the Cumberland School
Committee, where he formed a solid understanding of local government budgeting and
challenges. This experience has enabled him to be an advocate for local interests even
while navigating complex issues at the state level.
Senator Pearson has continued to make improving school facilities a top priority
throughout his public service. He led the Senate’s task force on school construction,
which laid the groundwork for the comprehensive $1 billion statewide plan to fix and
build high quality schools all across Rhode Island.
Improving Rhode Island's economy has been Senator Pearson’s other main focus since
joining the Senate. He has been a leader in efforts to reform our tax structures,
streamline regulations, invest in job training and overhaul our approach to economic
development. Understanding the importance of a talented and well educated workforce
to our overall economy, Senator Pearson authored a nationally recognized tax credit
that is helping college graduates repay their student loans when they commit to stay
and work in Rhode Island after graduation. He also helped to spearhead a series of
elementary and high school education reforms in 2019 related to curriculum and
school/district accountability, with an overall goal of improving the educational
experience and outcomes for all students.
Recognizing that fair and equitable education funding is also key to achieving
successful outcomes, Senator Pearson chaired a 2020 Senate task force examining the
decade-old statewide education funding formula and making recommendations to
ensure equitable funding for all students across Rhode Island. Passing these
recommended changes into law remains an urgent priority of his legislative agenda.
Senator Pearson also values the importance of safe, high quality infrastructure to both
our economy and our quality of life. He has worked hard to pass legislation to rebuild
our highways and bridges, to invest in business infrastructure development at Quonset
and to support the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank in its efforts to ensure clean water,
renewable energy and local road repairs.
Senator Pearson earned his B.S. in Finance from Providence College. He also attended
American University in Washington, D.C., while working as a staff member in the United
States Senate. Today in the private sector, he is employed as a Senior Vice President of
a local financial institution. Ryan has also remained an active supporter of many
community organizations throughout his public service.
The award presentation will take place on Tuesday May 10, 2022, at 8:30 am.
The PAUL CROWLEY AWARD is given each year by the Rhode Island School
Superintendents’ Association to a Rhode Island citizen or organization who, in his or her
professional and personal capacity, has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to
improving the quality of education for the children of Rhode Island, as did the Honorable
Paul Crowley throughout his career as a state representative from Newport. A $1,000
scholarship in Rep. Crowley’s name will also be awarded to a deserving senior planning
a career in education and graduating from a Rhode Island public high school.
“Representative Crowley’s tireless commitment to public education is well known in
Rhode Island, and it is an incredible honor to receive this award in his name,” said
Senator Pearson. “It has been my distinct privilege to serve Rhode Island, and
especially our educators and students. both as a school committee member and a
Senator. Tackling issues like school facilities, the funding formula, curriculum, and
accountability has been incredibly rewarding.
RISSA has been and continues to be a valuable partner in this work, and I’m grateful to
the RI Superintendents for this recognition.”