A Professor of Political Science at the College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY), Milpitas High School Class of 1991 alumna Ryane McAuliffe Straus teaches courses in American Politics, with a focus on Racial/Ethnic Politics and Public Policy.
McAuliffe Straus, who attended Pomeroy Elementary School and Rancho Middle School, cherishes her upbringing in such a richly diverse community. Her daily interactions helped shape her chosen career path.
“The most important part of my pre-college education wasn't in the classroom, though that was certainly foundational,” said the now 48-year-old mother of a 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter. “Instead, what was most important was the sheer diversity that I grew up with.”
Following high school graduation, McAuliffe Straus earned her Bachelor’s in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara, and Masters in Social Science and PhD in Political Science from UC Irvine.
Her educational foundation is rooted in Milpitas. McAuliffe Straus vividly recalled a 4th grade lesson about poverty, where her teacher, Mrs. Handy, taught the class about what it really meant to be hungry.
“We understood ‘hunger’ to be what we felt before dinner,” she recollected. “Her response was legendary. ‘Not one of you has ever been hungry,’ she said. That was when I realized that there were people who were seriously ‘hungry,’ not just waiting for their next meal.”
Later on at MHS, McAuliffe Straus encountered “incredible mentors” such as Mr. Robinson in U.S. History, Mr. Davis in Honors English, Mr. Ribovich in AP English, and “finally, Mr. Weinstein's ‘Facing History’ course challenged my assumptions about power. This course remains part of my basic intellectual repertoire.”
A member of the MHS swim team, McAuliffe Straus keeps those memories dear to her heart like the 100-lap swimathon and jumping into the diving pool for morning swim practice “because it was so much warmer than the lap pool.”
For future generations of MUSD learners, McAuliffe Straus advised: “Follow your heart. Find something that you love and work at it. Anything is difficult the first time you try it, but it will get a little bit better every time if you keep at it.”
At the Jan. 11, 2022 meeting, Milpitas Unified School District Board of Education and District Leadership honored Milpitas High School Coaches Kelly King, Adam Perez, Mike Matthews, Reynard Elzey, Pono Aiona, Victor Parrette, Alfredo Martinez, Ralph Meredith, Victor Rodriguez, Trevor Dimich and Vito Cangemi for bringing joy to so many needy MUSD families by providing Christmas gifts to their children.
Coach King coordinated with the other coaches to provide toys to families who were in need of some support this holiday season. Coach King reached out to all MUSD elementary schools. At Weller Elementary, with their help and generosity, 50 students received two or more toys each. Their parents were able to come by the school, select gifts, and bring them home to surprise their kids with on Christmas morning.