Ever since Nan Keller Bryant ’91, ’11 was a child, Shenandoah University has been a part of her life. Bryant attended concerts and theater performances when she was young, and as a high school student, took piano lessons with Professor Emerita Sue Boyd. Once Bryant finished her undergraduate degree at William & Mary, she came back to Shenandoah to earn her master’s degree, which enhanced her professional career. She believes the university is a vibrant oasis within the Winchester community and wants to be a part of the support that makes that excitement happen year after year.
Bryant has been involved with the university as an adjunct professor for the School of Education & Leadership, a presenter at the annual Children’s Literature Conference and a liaison with the School of Education & Leadership for placement of practicum and student teacher students. However, these are not her only jobs.
Bryant is the principal of Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart Elementary School in Winchester, Virginia. Before her current position, Bryant was a classroom teacher, literacy/reading specialist, an assistant principal and a director of elementary and intermediate instruction. She earned her Master of Science degree in education at Shenandoah in 1996 and returned to earn her Doctor of Education degree in organizational leadership in 2011.
“I have always loved education,” said Bryant. “School not only made great opportunities possible for me, but also, in and of itself, has been joyful. I went into education because I wanted to give back to the community as well as to continue to experience the lifelong joy that learning has brought to my life.”
The most rewarding experiences of Bryant’s career have been the opportunity to collaborate with community and professional agencies such as Shenandoah University, the National Writing Project and the National CRISS organization, in order to bring enriching experiences for her students, parents, guardians and staff.
Shenandoah helped Bryant reach her career goals because the university offered exactly what she was looking for. “My initial post-undergraduate learning goal was to become a reading specialist and the SU Reading Specialist program supported that goal,” said Bryant. “Next, I wanted to complete a school administration program. Again, Shenandoah was there for that purpose. I wanted to deepen my leadership experience and knowledge and the doctoral program in organizational leadership was available at SU.”
Outside of Shenandoah she has served on the board of many community organizations including Friends of the Handley Library, Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum (of which she is also a founding board member), Apple Valley Reading Council, Virginia State Reading Association and Child Parent Center. During her time at Shenandoah, Bryant learned collaboration skills and leadership strategies.
Now that she has many professional successes because of her education from Shenandoah, she wants to give back. Her service as a school administrator, has provided great leadership experience to bring to the alumni board, and studying piano helps her connect with the conservatory and musical theatre department. Bryant would love to have the opportunity to work with fellow alumni in continuing to foster the kind of growth and life-changing experiences she had at Shenandoah for current and future students, the community, faculty and staff.