Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ryan Shumaker: Cuyamaca College associate dean of athletics has come full circle

Ryan Shumaker
Cuyamaca College helped Ryan Shumaker find his future. Now he wants to pay it forward. 

“Community colleges provide opportunities for kids who may not otherwise have opportunities,” said Shumaker, who is now Cuyamaca College’s associate dean of athletics. “I believe in the work that we do. I was that kid that we’re serving.” 

Shumaker grew up in a single-parent household with little thought of the future until he discovered the athletics program at West Hills High School in Santee. Shumaker played basketball, starred on the track and field team, served as captain for three years and set school records in the shot put and discus along the way. 

Unable to afford a university education, Shumaker looked at his options and enrolled at Cuyamaca College. As a Coyote, he continued to shine in basketball and track and field, finishing fourth in the state in the discus and shot put in his first year at the collegiate level.

Landing on the President’s List all six semesters he spent at Cuyamaca, Shumaker graduated with honors and earned a full athletic scholarship to Southern Illinois University. 

The success continued at Southern Illinois, where Shumaker earned Missouri Valley Conference honors in the shot put and finished among the top 10 in his events a total of 14 times during the indoor season during his first year. Two years later, Shumaker qualified for the NCAA West Regionals in the hammer throw and shot put while being named all-Missouri Valley Conference in the hammer throw. 

More importantly, Shumaker earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in marketing. Tiring of the brutal Illinois winters, Shumaker returned to Cuyamaca College for the job of the school’s Student Success Coordinator. He later served as Interim Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Interim Associate Dean of Athletics before losing the “interim” label on the latter last summer. 

“My goal is to grow a more robust program so we could offer more opportunities to student athletes in East County,” he said.  

Wrapping up his doctoral work in education leadership at San Diego State University, Shumaker, 28, also has his sights set on becoming a community college president. Leading Cuyamaca College one day would be a dream come true. 

“I love this college,” said the married father of two small children. “You can’t beat the small town feel or the family environment. Cuyamaca College is dedicated to student success, and I’m living proof of that.”