Ryan was born July 25, 1983 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in Cottage Grove, Minnesota where he graduated from Park High School in 2001. He majored in mathematics and minored in economics and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2003. He graduated with a master's degree in instruction from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona, Minnesota in 2004. He taught high school mathematics from 2004-2008 in the Twin Cities area before starting a career in government at the Minnesota Department of Revenue where he met his wife, Kathryn (Kate) Nelsen. Ryan and Kate married on July 11, 2015.