Being the first to graduate in his family and having no intention of ever going to college, Ron Ballard said it was the educators in his life that changed his path.
“It was just being here and the teachers that I had in the community that encouraged that to happen,” said Ballard.
Although he was born in Hopkinsville, Ballard said he considers Danville his hometown. He said his mother moved him and his family to Danville in 1982, where he attended school and became the first to graduate in his family.
“I tell people all the time that the move that my mom chose to make in 1982 completely changed the trajectory of my life,” said Ballard.
In Nov. 2023, Danville Independent announced that Ballard had been selected as the district’s new superintendent.
Ballard graduated from Danville High School and continued his education at Plymouth State University in northern New Hampshire. In New Hampshire with his wife, where he took his first teaching job, he moved back to his hometown in 2002 where he continued teaching for a few years within the Danville Independent school district until he took a break for his deployment in Iraq as a commander with the National Guard.
“It was a 22-month deployment and then I came back, eventually I became the interim principal at the same school I was teaching at, then was hired as principal in 2014,” said Ballard, talking about Toliver Elementary School.
For the past five years, he served as the district’s director of pupil personnel and support services (DPP), where his role was to help the district’s most at-risk students and families.
“You have such a dramatic impact on students, especially with those that have the biggest barriers in their lives,” said Ballard.
“I had no intentions of ever becoming a superintendent. I thought DPP was where I wanted to be,” said Ballard. “But we had some turnover here in Danville with the superintendency, and it was really at the encouragement of my peers that I am here.”
With a few goals in mind, Ballard began his duties on Jan. 1.
“I’m really looking to have some stability within our school system,” said Ballard. “We’ve had a lot of transition, so just making sure that we’re stabilizing.”
Ballard said he plans to look at resources and budgeting, help renovate some areas within the district like the middle school and sports facilities and encourage young educators.
Using his story as an example, he wants to encourage the grow-your-own program within his community in hopes of creating new aspirations for students.
“I just look forward to growing our own right here,” he said. “It’s always great to have a fresh perspective that can come in. We have the capacity to do whatever we need to do here.”
“Making sure that we streamline any of the resources that we have with some of our young leaders and showing them that they still can do more with less,” said Ballard.
He said he’s not planning to make many changes when it comes to administrative tactics, and he hopes to keep the door open when it comes to communicating with the school board, staff, educators and families within the district.
“Anything I can do to communicate with the community and build that trust in our schools would be great,” said Ballard.