The Spring ISD Board of Trustees designated Marshall ISD Superintendent Ralph H. Draper as the sole finalist for the vacant Spring ISD Superintendent position on July 28.
Mr. Draper, 46 years of age, has served as Superintendent of the 5,800-student school district in East Texas since 2002. Prior to becoming Superintendent, Mr. Draper served as Marshall’s Assistant Superintendent of Personnel for five years. He also served as an elementary school principal in Marshall for two years.
“We are very excited about the vision that Ralph Draper has for public education,” said Spring ISD School Board President Mel Smith. “His passion for children, his leadership style, and his commitment to working with the Board of Trustees, the staff, and the community to enhance the achievement of all of our students was very evident as we reviewed his application materials and as we interviewed him on two separate occasions.”
Mr. Draper describes himself as a “very focused and student-centered school leader”. “Much of my passion is derived from the positive and life-changing impact education has had on my life and the lives of my children and, hopefully, subsequent generations,” he said. “I am firmly dedicated to the mission of providing students with the opportunity to maximize their fullest potential.”
Mr. Draper’s leadership style has focused on empowering the building principal and district program directors, and in developing leadership at every level of the organization. He has also focused on decentralization, with a strong emphasis on parental and community involvement.
“My tenure as Superintendent of Marshall ISD has been during the transition of the state’s introduction of its most rigorous assessment and accountability system,” he said. “This time of challenge and change provided me an opportunity to implement bold, new visionary leadership that resulted in immediate and impressive results. It is the first time in the district’s history that we have started under a new state assessment ahead of the state-average percentage passing rates.”
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. 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. Mr. Draper served as a full- time pulpit minister for congregations in St. Louis, MO, Nashville, TN, and Cambridge, MD from 1981 to 1988.
Mr. 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.
Mr. 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.
Mr. 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.
The Superintendent position for the 28,000-student Spring ISD became vacant in May when Dr. Michael Hinojosa resigned to become Superintendent of Dallas ISD. A superintendent search, conducted by Jerry Smith of CommunicAid, resulted in 33 candidates from throughout Texas and across the nation seeking the Spring ISD position.
In accordance with state law, the Spring ISD Board cannot formally name Mr. Draper as Superintendent for 21 days after designating him as the finalist. That action is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 18, two days after Spring ISD students begin the 2005-2006 school year and one day after Marshall ISD students return to class.
Roz Keck will continue to serve as Interim Superintendent for Spring ISD until Mr. Draper is under contract and begins working full time in the District.