James T. Ryan III, CJA alumnus and DePaul sophomore ShaMarrion Adams-Morgan, Michelle A. Ryan, CJA and DePaul alumnus

 Curtis Dell, CJA alumnus and DePaul sophomore Darrell Jenkins and DePaul Provost Salma Ghanem.

James T. and Michelle Ryan Foundation

We are blessed to have a tremendous benefactor community supporting our students, alumni and High School Bridge students. Among these generous supporters are the James T. and Michelle A. Ryan Foundation. Jim and Michelle Ryan’s involvement with CJA began over a decade ago when Michelle volunteered to work with some of our fifth graders. In addition to working closely with our students and teachers, Michelle served as a member of our College & Career Persistence Committee and Board of Directors from 2014-2020. She continues to advise our school leadership as a member of our Governance, Mission & Identity Committee.

Jim Ryan, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of industrial supply company W. W. Grainger, served as a member of DePaul University’s Board of Directors from 2007-2021 and was chair from 2017-2020. In addition to supporting scholarships for students enrolled at CJA, Jim and Michelle established the Ryan Family Scholarship Program at DePaul in 2017. This scholarship program provides full tuition, room and board for CJA alumni who earn admission to DePaul and demonstrate financial need.

Recently, the James T. and Michelle A. Ryan Foundation has deepened their support of CJA with a transformational gift to fund the Ryan Teaching Fellowship at CJA. The Ryan Teaching Fellowship is a three-year teacher training program that will help us continue to build a talented and durable faculty and staff that will help our students learn and grow as people for others. As a longtime volunteer and a graduate of Ball State University’s Teacher’s College, Michelle has a deep appreciation for and understanding of the impact strong teachers have on their students.

Jim and Michelle Ryan live out the value of cura personalis, care for the whole person, in their daily lives and through their philanthropy. We are filled with gratitude for the many ways they support, uplift and open doors for our students and alumni.

Ryan Family Scholarship at DePaul University

The Ryan Family Scholarship has provided ten CJA alumni with full scholarships to DePaul University. They have earned or are pursuing degrees that will lead to careers in finance, IT, criminology and game design. Taking inspiration from the work of CJA’s College & Career Persistence Office, Jim and Michelle advocated for the DePaul community to offer holistic supports for our alumni as they make their way toward their degree. Jim shared, “We felt the most impactful way to help was to create access to a high-quality college education with a scholarship program that includes academic, advising and life-skills support. Seeing the first of the Ryan scholars graduate DePaul in spring was a true honor.”


From our work at CJA with our alumni and our High School Bridge students, we have seen how being a part of a supportive cohort helps young people succeed. Through their scholarship program, the Ryans have created a cohort of CJA alumni at DePaul. When the program began Michelle Ryan was particularly hands on, helping the first Ryan Scholars acclimate to life on campus. She visited with them regularly and served as a mentor as these young men navigated the transition to life in college and adulthood.


Our alumni who have received the Ryan Family Scholarship have carried Michelle’s care forward. They depend on one another and they regularly check in and support one another. Each of these young men are embodying the grad-at-grad values they learned at CJA as they push each other academically and invite each other to step out of their comfort zones to join new clubs and activities.


Esuseni Perryman (CJA 2017) is a junior and a Game Design major with a Computer Science minor. This year, he is a member of the varsity eSports Team, the Japanese media club and the African American media club. Esuseni shares an an off-campus apartment with three other CJA alumni who are Ryan Family Scholars and interned with two of his fellow Game Design majors at BundlAR, an augmented reality firm. When reflecting on his time at DePaul he shared, “This has been the best year yet. I feel supported and inspired by my roommates. The Ryan Scholarship has provided me with more opportunities, and it’s one of the reasons why I am able to really focus on my studies in school.”


Marvin Gibson (CJA 2017) is a Finance major and has taken freshman Business major, Kaden Jackson (CJA 2019), under his wing. They meet up regularly to check in on classes and Marvin shares his experiences and helps Kaden to navigate the business school. Marvin interned last summer at Societe Generale in New York and will be returning to intern again this summer. Marvin accessed this internship through Project Greenwood, and Kaden will also be utilizing this program as he looks for a summer internship.


Shermar Price (CJA 2015) graduated from DePaul this fall after completing his final quarter in Los Angeles where he worked at Nickelodeon as an intern. He shared that his LA Quarter “was a life changing experience that [Jim and Michelle Ryan] made possible. They truly are doing God’s work.” He is currently pursuing opportunities in IT and Game Design.


Curtis Dell (CJA 2014) graduated in June and is now working as a Client Support Analyst at GTreasury. Reflecting back on his time at DePaul, Curtis shared, “The Ryan Scholarship not only granted me the opportunity to delve into a field I am passionate about but also alleviated financial stress. This enabled me to explore various resources both inside and outside of DePaul. I discovered multiple communities that will continue to support me throughout my career journey, and I remain dedicated to supporting them in any way possible.”


We are incredibly proud of these alumni and their accomplishments at DePaul and we’re grateful to the James T. and Michelle A. Ryan Foundation for creating the Ryan Family Scholars

Ryan Teaching Fellowship

Since CJA was founded in 2005, we have known that small class sizes, an extended school year and day and a dedicated teaching staff are critical to our students’ success. We also know that students benefit greatly from learning from teachers who are committed to doing whatever it takes in the service of our students. Across the next four years, CJA will grow to serve 426 students. As we grow, we must hire more teachers who are just as committed to the success of our students, who see teaching as their vocation and who share the lived experiences of our students. To help us recruit and retain talented faculty, The James T. and Michelle A. Ryan Foundation has funded the creation of The Ryan Teaching Fellowship.


The Ryan Teaching Fellowship is a three-year teacher training program that forms excellent educators out of hardworking, talented and good-hearted people who see teaching as their vocation. Some teachers in this fellowship come to CJA after graduating from formal teaching programs and others are talented individuals who have a passion for the work and are pursuing education degrees. The Ryan Teaching Fellowship will allow CJA to intentionally form and grow our faculty to meet the needs of our students as we continue to double our enrollment across the next four years. 


To best support student growth and development, we utilize a co-teaching model at CJA. Classrooms have two adults present throughout the day – a more experienced teacher and a less experienced teacher or teacher’s aide. This gives teachers the flexibility to resolve student issues more easily within the classroom and allows us to model best practices for new teachers.


Through our co-teaching model, Ryan Teaching Fellows are paired with a more experienced teacher who offers them targeted and individualized support and feedback. In addition to support from their co-teacher and our Head of School, Fellows also participate in high-quality professional development in Responsive Classroom and the Danielson Framework for Teaching among other subject and grade-level specific professional development facilitated by experienced CJA teachers.


We are incredibly grateful to the Ryan Foundation for helping us build a pipeline of talented educators who will help our students grow and thrive.

We're Hiring!

We are hiring for several roles throughout the institution to help us grow to serve 426 students by the 2027-2028 school year. Please take a moment to review our job postings and share open positions with people in your network who may be interested in supporting our mission. Most critically, we are eager to meet strong teaching candidates.

Take a Look at Our New Website!

CJA’s website has a new look! Our website address is the same: www.chicagojesuitacademy.org, but there is a lot of new content to dig into. We invite you to spend some time exploring the new site and learning something new about our work.