FARMINGTON — Farmington school board members and district staff took time during the school board meeting Thursday to thank superintendent Janel Ryan as she announced her retirement at the end of the year.

The Farmington Municipal School board of education approved Ryan's resignation notice Thursday. She plans to retire on Dec. 31 after spending nearly 55 years in education.

Ryan requested the board members approve the termination of her contract for retirement at the end of year due to health reasons stemming from her recent heart attack.

Ryan said she loves education and that students have always been her passion, but the demands of the superintendent position require a significant amount of work.

Farmington Municipal School District Superintendent Janel Ryan reacts during a school board meeting on Thursday at the district’s administration
Farmington Municipal School District Superintendent Janel Ryan reacts during a school board meeting on Thursday at the district's administration boardroom in Farmington. Pictured at left is Ryan's administrative assistant, Cindy Lyons. Ryan will retire at the end of the year. (Joshua Kellogg / The Daily Times)

"As superintendent, you have to be 100-percent healthy because it isn't a half-time job," Ryan said. "It's a 10 to 12 hour a day job.

"You have to message to the community and have ownership for the staff and students. You have to be a leader. So it's a good time for me to say goodbye."

Each board members took a turn thanking Ryan for her service to the school district and students, and for helping Farmington schools to a position of leadership state-wide.

"I will miss your grace, your resolve and fighting spirit," board member Robyn Hoffman said.

A number of district teachers, principals and staff in the audience stood up and thanked Ryan for her time with the district.

Rocinante High School principal Bob Rank said Ryan provided him an opportunity to get back in a school where he felt at home.

"Like so many people that worked for Janel, she guided us along, she directed us and when the time was right, she placed us where we could do the most good," Rank said.

Ryan is currently in her 16th year with Farmington schools and 11th year as superintendent.

Before starting in Farmington, she was the superintendent for the Truth or Consequences Municipal school district for 12 years.

Ryan has also served as the president of the New Mexico Activities Association and the New Mexico Superintendent Association.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.