Ron Crier, Spring ISD Board Trustee, left, and Superintendent Ralph Draper celebrate during a reception following the board’s announcement that Draper will be the new superintendent of Spring ISD.
Spring ISD Board Names New Superintendent
The Spring ISD Board of Trustees named Ralph H. Draper the new superintendent of schools during a special session on Tuesday, Aug. 23. He will begin his employment at Spring ISD in September.
Draper will be coming to Spring from Marshall ISD where he has served as superintendent since 2002. Prior to becoming superintendent, he served two years as an elementary school principal and then five years as assistant superintendent of personnel in Marshall ISD, a 5,800-student school district in East Texas.
Draper has a reputation for focusing on children and building meaningful relationships that impressed Spring ISD Board members.
“He is very child-centered and has the ability to focus on the best way to improve student achievement,” said Mel Smith, Spring ISD Board of Trustees president.
Although Draper will be coming from a smaller district to one of approximately 30,000 students he believes “kids are not fundamentally different. They face the same challenges. They all need to know there are significant adults in their lives who care about them.”
During the 21-day waiting period required by the state when hiring a superintendent, Spring ISD Board members Sherry Mudder and Lora Lee Hedrick traveled to Marshall ISD where they visited with staff and received insights into Draper’s character and management style.
“He has set important standards (at Marshall ISD) not only as an educator but as a friend. We have found an inspiring and smart leader in Ralph Draper,” Mudder said.
“Mr. Draper walks softly but speaks very loud for kids,” Hedrick said.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Draper began his public education career in Texas in Longview ISD in 1988, teaching elementary school for three years and middle school for two. He became a middle school assistant principal in Longview in 1993 before moving to Marshall ISD as an elementary school principal in 1995. Draper served as a full-time pulpit minister for congregations in St. Louis, MO, Nashville, TN, and Cambridge, MD from 1981 to 1988.
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.
Draper earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Education from David Lipscomb University in Tennessee in 1981. He earned a Master of Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1995 and is scheduled to earn his Doctor of Education from that university in December 2005.
Draper and his wife, Charlene, have three daughters – Genesis, 24, who is a third-year student at the University of Texas Law School; Joy, 22, who is a junior at Middle Tennessee State University; and Charity, 19, who is a junior at Fisk University in Tennessee.