Dr. Ralph H. Draper has followed two career pathways that both focus on serving people and offering opportunities for transforming their lives. He began his career in Christian ministry in1981 and became a full-time educator in 1988 after recognizing the positive impact he could have on children in public schools.
In August 2005, Dr. Draper took the next step toward fulfilling his dream of transforming public education to better meet the needs of 21st century students when he was selected by the Spring ISD Board of Trustees to serve as superintendent of the diverse and fast-growing district located in northwest Houston.
In 2006, he established a Spring ISD Design Team to produce a vision that states: “By 2015, Spring Independent School District will be recognized nationally as a leader among learning organizations and known for exemplary student achievement.” The 2015 vision, as it came to be known, soon became recognizable and often quoted across the district.
Under Dr. Draper’s leadership the district has demonstrated a commitment to school transformation that included identifying core beliefs, establishing a team of key leaders and supporting teachers with sustained, professional development.
Supporting the core belief that students are the customers, since 2006, the district has opened three schools of choice and implemented a virtual school program. Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, a career academy that integrates core curriculum into career pathways, is internationally recognized; Dr. Edward Roberson Middle School features a nontraditional curriculum focusing on math, science and the fine arts; and the Early College Academy at Southridge, established through a partnership with Lone Star College – North Harris, offers students the opportunity to graduate from high school with an associate degree. In addition, the Spring ISD Virtual School program offers flexible scheduling and individualized instruction through online courses.
In August 2011, the district opened Gloria Marshall Elementary School, the district’s first “green” school and the Houston area’s first LEED Gold certified public school. The school has received numerous national and state awards for its architectural design and features Discovery Approach Learning.
Dr. Draper has taken his vision and passion for school transformation beyond the boundaries of Spring ISD. As a member of TASA’s Public Education Visioning Institute, he is one of 35 superintendents who came together to produce a publication titled “Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas.” The Resolution Concerning High Stakes, Standardized Testing of Texas Public School Students, which has been approved by districts statewide, is based upon tenets of the New Vision publication.
Dr. Draper has been a keynote speaker and lecturer at conferences, revivals, workshops, motivational seminars and youth events in 29 states, the District of Columbia and West Africa. He served two years as a co-host for the “Christ Is Your Answer” television program.
He earned his associate degree from Southwestern Christian College, in Terrell, Texas and his bachelor’s degree from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. He earned Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Dr. Draper and his wife, Charlene, have three grown daughters: Genesis, Joy and Charity.