Former FBI agent becomes teacher assistant


Photo Credit: Sophie Ferreri

Mr. Garland, teacher assistant and previously in the FBI, walks the halls of Glen Rock High School.

by Sophie Ferreri, Staff Writer

Before he could become a teacher assistant, Mr. Ryan Garland had to turn in his secret agent gadgets. Then, he became a new kind of hero.

Garland grew up in Kansas City and earned a scholarship to play soccer at Vanderbilt University. After Vanderbilt, he decided to keep his residence in Nashville and become a police officer for 6 years. He worked undercover as a narcotic and SWAT officer.

In October of 2001, right after 9/11, Garland went to the Federal Air Marshal Service. He trained in New Mexico for 6 months for work in Israel and other countries overseas. He then spent four years, off and on, in a unit involved with government in Israel and Western Europe.

In 2005, Garland was assigned to the Hurricane Katrina rescue mission. He was part of a rescue effort in which his unit flew helicopters trying to save who was still alive and trying to account for those who weren’t. Garland said that some of the horrific tragedies and deaths that he saw were unbearable.

He was then assigned to the FBI for 5 years and became a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. His job, amongst about 30 other people, was to analyze every threat that came into the state of New Jersey, deal with the threats, and find solutions to prevent them.

Now retired from his law enforcement career, Garland discovered a passion for working with kids and teaching while coaching soccer at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a school in West Chester New York, and a soccer club in New York called FC Sting. He then quickly resorted to teaching as fitting the perfect career.

Garland is now getting his teaching certificate, so he can teach his true love for history and philosophy to students especially those eager to learn.

“I absolutely love the Glen Rock School district and it’s exactly the kind of school district I want to teach in,” Garland said. “The students here are very engaged, intelligent, and have not just great opportunities, they have the desire to really push themselves and succeed and I want to work in a school district where that’s all very obvious.”

Garland is a teacher assistant for Mr. Tom Lyon, a U.S History teacher, along with other teachers.

“Mr. Garland has been amazing, one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Lyon said. “With his background he adds so much to class discussions. He has a very natural sense of the classroom and has the natural ability to work with students.”

Garland loves the high school age group because since they’re at such an impressionable age, he loves to engage the students in real life lessons through their education.

“Mr. Garland is fun to have in class because he can always relate what were learning in class to relatable life issues,” Rachel McMahon (18’) said. “He’ll make a really good teacher.”

Not only has Garland saved physical lives in the past, but also he now strives to save and enrich the minds of students by upholding lively a classroom and building close relations with individual students.

“Instead of teaching them history, I teach them what they’re going to need in their future life via history,” Garland said. “That’s very important to me.”