Ryan has served since January 2012 as an at-large member of the Fairfax County School Board, representing all 1.15 million county residents. He became the youngest person ever elected to the School Board at age 25.
During the past eight years, Ryan worked with parents, students, and educators to keep the school system the best in the nation. He led the charge to improve student life by reforming student mental health programs; creating fresher, healthier school food; expanding LGBTQ protections; improving student discipline; implementing later high school start times and full-day Mondays; championing gun violence prevention and human trafficking prevention; and improving school safety and security. He has also increased community accountability and transparency by hiring a system ombudsman and an auditor general. He fought to attract the best educators to Fairfax County schools, and he led the School Board to ensure that Fairfax County receives its fair share from Richmond.
Since 2014, Ryan has also served as associate director of The Brookings Institution's John L. Thornton China Center, where he is senior administrator, coordinates with the Brookings-Tsinghua Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing and conducts research on Chinese politics and society and U.S. foreign policy.
He is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and his writing has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, CNN Opinions, Current History, Lawfare, China-US Focus, and the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
Ryan’s experience spans the public- and private-sectors, NGOs and academia. He has worked for the International Operations and Policy office of the Boeing Company, Columbia University's Weatherhead East Asian Institute, The Clinton Foundation and The Clinton Global Initiative, The China Institute, the University of Virginia Center in Shanghai, and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) on the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Born and raised in Tysons Corner, Ryan is a graduate of George C. Marshall High School, where he served as Class President and graduated with an International Baccalaureate diploma.
Ryan holds a B.A. in Anthropology and East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia and a Master’s of International Affairs in human rights from Columbia University. He lives with his wife, Xuan, and daughter, Sierra, in McLean.
Ryan is an avid runner and can be found running on County park trails early in the morning. Ryan speaks several languages and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.