Dr. Lane Ledbetter was raised by Dragons. The son of former athletic director, coach and corridor of famer Bob Ledbetter and his spouse Sue, Dr. Ledbetter grew up roaming the hallways of the 3A Carroll Excessive College, watching his dad coach practices and attending Friday night time soccer video games. He by no means imagined years later he could be again main the cost as its superintendent.
When former superintendent Dr. David Faltys introduced his retirement final 12 months after serving the district for 15 years, Dr. Ledbetter knew it was time for him to come back again residence.
“I’m sitting within the constructing proper now the place I went to highschool within the mid-’80s,” Dr. Ledbetter expresses. “It’s been so surreal in so some ways. I actually haven’t been on this constructing for a number of years.”
Born in Irving, Dr. Ledbetter and his household moved round to a number of Texas cities, from Frisco to Mineral Wells, earlier than lastly settling for good in Southlake.
“It was a small city,” Dr. Ledbetter remembers. “All the things revolved across the two or three campuses that have been right here. You needed to go to Keller or Grapevine to get groceries or quick meals. You needed to drive down just a little nation highway simply to get to high school.”
Together with his dad teaching and his mother educating, Dr. Ledbetter remembered seeing the influence his dad and mom had on his mates and the way they’ve constructed lasting relationships by their lessons. Bob and Sue didn’t understand it on the time, however they have been constructing the inspiration of Dr. Ledbetter’s curiosity in schooling.
“It simply form of instilled a need in me to enter a career the place you’ll be able to really make an influence,” Dr. Ledbetter expresses. “That’s why I obtained into schooling.”
As a Dragon, Dr. Ledbetter liked sports activities as a lot as his father and performed on each crew he might, together with soccer, basketball, baseball and observe. He was even a part of the soccer crew that received a state championship in 1988. He excelled much more so in his teachers, being named valedictorian his senior 12 months.
“He was all the time such a shy little one,” Sue remembers. “He didn’t need to get in entrance of individuals and discuss. However when he gave his valedictorian speech, he simply went proper up there and delivered it completely. Sitting again there listening to him, I couldn’t consider that was my little one. I used to be so happy with him.”
After graduating from Carroll Excessive College, Dr. Ledbetter set his sights on Baylor College with aspirations of changing into a coach and trainer, identical to his dad and mom.
After graduating together with his bachelor’s diploma in 1993, Dr. Ledbetter taught at Lake Travis ISD for a semester earlier than he moved again to the Metroplex the next 12 months. After educating at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD for 2 years, Dr. Ledbetter began his grasp’s diploma on the College of North Texas and returned to Carroll ISD to show and coach in 1996.
It was throughout his time at Southlake the place Dr. Ledbetter met his future spouse, Penny.
“He was teaching baseball on the time,” Penny remembers. “We’d all the time sit within the stands and watch his children play. The profound factor is among the children that have been on his crew again then, they’re now elevating their very own households and bringing them out to the video games at the moment. All of it got here full circle.”
As he continued educating, teaching and learning for his grasp’s, Dr. Ledbetter started fascinated by getting his doctorate to pursue extra bold alternatives. His first introduction to his future profession path was working behind the scenes on the most important workplace of Carroll Excessive College the place he helped the assistant principal with every day administrative duties reminiscent of recording attendance and implementing the code of conduct. It was numerous routine work, but it surely gave him his first real-life insights into schooling administration.
“I don’t know if I essentially had aspirations to be a superintendent once I began educating,” Dr. Ledbetter says. “I believe these began evolving as soon as I obtained into it, rising professionally and seeing what I might do.”
His first administration job was as an assistant principal at Birdville ISD in 1999. He rose shortly by the ranks throughout his 13-year stint there, later changing into a center college and highschool principal, digital schooling administrator and finally the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Dr. Ledbetter liked the expertise, however he was lacking among the scholar interplay.
“It’s onerous since you’re taking your self one other step away from the youngsters,” he says. “As a trainer, your day-to-day is all the time with the youngsters. As a principal, it’s a unique surroundings. You’re going from planning classes, practices and educating to managing a campus. You change into that visionary — the planner, the large image, trying towards the long run, setting targets and transferring the campus in a particular path. It’s a really completely different world.”
Now retired and away from the youngsters himself, Bob understood simply what his son was going by.
“He really missed teaching,” Bob says. “He missed being round all of his children. However now he was ready the place he might do much more for them.”
After ending his time at Birdville, Dr. Ledbetter and his household moved to Graham ISD in 2012 the place he started his first position as superintendent of colleges. After serving in that position for 3 years, Dr. Ledbetter turned the superintendent for Midlothian ISD, the place he skilled a few of his biggest successes. Not solely did voters approve of a large $268 million bond program — the most important within the district’s historical past — but additionally they grew the district by 3-5%, constructed new campuses and rolled out an bold expertise initiative.
“The factor I’m most happy with with Midlothian was managing the expansion,” Dr. Ledbetter says. “We constructed some revolutionary amenities, numerous collaborative areas, makerspaces, furnishings, actually tried to create collaborative environments inside our buildings. I used to be actually excited that we built-in numerous expertise with good boards and marvel workshops. I’m actually happy with what we achieved in Midlothian.”
In keeping with Area of interest, Midlothian ISD has grown to greater than 9,300 college students within the district with a student-teacher ratio of 16:1. It has a commencement price of 91%, ranks within the high 17% for finest college districts in Texas, is among the many high 34% most secure college districts and even ranks among the many high 5.16% nationally for finest college districts for athletes.
With Penny additionally educating kindergarten in Midlothian ISD, Dr. Ledbetter advised her they wouldn’t transfer once more — that they might keep in Midlothian till their school-age children graduated. There was just one circumstance that might have modified that for Dr. Ledbetter — if the superintendent job at Carroll ISD turned open.
COMING BACK TO CARROLL
When Dr. Faltys introduced his retirement from the district, Carroll ISD was going through a number of points that might have challenged any superintendent. COVID-19 was nonetheless on the forefront of many households’ minds, whether or not it was concerning security precautions or digital studying from the Dragon Digital Academy. However the Cultural Competence Motion Plan (CCAP), a five-year draft plan from the District Range Council to handle racism, additionally brought on a deep rift throughout the neighborhood.
“The neighborhood has to come back collectively and work by all this,” Dr. Ledbetter says. “I don’t suppose it’s not possible to beat, as a result of that is too nice of a neighborhood.”
Whereas Sue was excited to see her son apply for the superintendent place, she was additionally involved. However these divisions didn’t deter Dr. Ledbetter.
“He’s all the time favored a problem,” Sue says. “He likes realizing he can do one thing to assist. That was all the time his considered something.”
Bob was simply as smitten by Dr. Ledbetter’s potential return to the district and instantly provided to assist him any manner he might.
“When Lane known as and advised me that Dr. Faltys was gonna retire, I stated, ‘Lane, what would you like me to do that will help you?’” Bob remembers. “He paused for a minute and stated, ‘Dad, in case you simply maintain your mouth shut, we’ll be nice.’”
Bob says he knew his son was half-joking, however he additionally understood Dr. Ledbetter wished to earn the job primarily based on his personal skill — not his father’s repute.
“He didn’t want his dad out right here speaking for him,” Bob says. “It was his deal, not mine. If he can’t get the job on his personal deserves, he doesn’t want Bob Ledbetter making an attempt to advertise him.”
When Dr. Ledbetter’s identify was introduced because the lone finalist for the superintendent place out of 45 candidates from 10 states, Sue was overwhelmed.
“I cried and jumped for pleasure,” she says. “Understanding my son, what he’s all about and the way he cares for folks and children, I do know he can deal with this.”
With 27 years of schooling expertise underneath his belt and being a Dragon alum himself, CISD board trustee president Michelle Moore says Dr. Ledbetter was the unanimous selection for superintendent.
“He embodies our neighborhood’s values and has the expertise and need to steer Carroll ISD to a brand new degree of excellence,” Michelle says. “His private expertise, each as an alumnus and former workers member, will enable Dr. Ledbetter to make a direct optimistic influence in Carroll ISD. There was no query that he was essentially the most succesful candidate to steer us into the long run.”
Place 2 trustee Eric Lannen believes Dr. Ledbetter is the whole lot Carroll ISD might have hoped for in a brand new superintendent.
“He drank the ‘Dragon Kool-Help’ lengthy earlier than most of us ever heard of Southlake,” Eric says. “He is a good listener and a collaborative chief. I do know he will probably be very intentional in partnering with our extraordinary Southlake neighborhood to maneuver the district ahead.”
And whereas Dr. Ledbetter was keen to maneuver again to Southlake, he says the adjustment wasn’t as straightforward for his kids Luke and Lauren, who obtained pulled out of Midlothian Heritage Excessive College in the course of the 12 months. Regardless, Dr. Ledbetter is worked up to offer his children the possibility to name themselves Dragons — the identical likelihood his dad gave to him.
“His children grew up listening to in regards to the Carroll Dragons,” Bob says. “He had some nice mates and reminiscences right here, and he wished Luke and Lauren to expertise the identical factor.”
LISTENING AND LEARNING
Dr. Ledbetter’s first few months as CISD superintendent have been busy. One among his first priorities was visiting all 11 campuses to introduce himself and assess every college. Dr. Ledbetter is slated to offer a abstract report on a few of his findings in the course of the subsequent board assembly on March 8.
He’s additionally been getting out in entrance of the general public as a lot as potential — attending neighborhood occasions, visitor talking at webinars and answering questions by Dragon Chat. And though the district is at present prohibited from talking or engaged on CCAP, that hasn’t stopped Dr. Ledbetter from proactively working to deliver the neighborhood collectively. In his first board assembly, he addressed divisions in the neighborhood, stating the issues wouldn’t be solved within the courtroom or on social media. Quite, they might be solved by sitting down and having conversations.
“I believe it is essential that we create a listening tradition in Carroll ISD and the neighborhood of Southlake, so we worth all views and opinions,” Dr. Ledbetter says throughout a Southlake Basis livestream. “My philosophy has all the time been you must hear to grasp — and I’ve been doing that loads currently.”
Carroll ISD is value combating for to Dr. Ledbetter.
“There are unbelievable folks right here. It’s a tremendous place, and I’ve little doubt that this district will overcome that division, and we’ll work collectively,” Dr. Ledbetter says. “No state of affairs goes to be good, but when I can have a small half in serving to transfer the neighborhood ahead, then why wouldn’t I need to be part of that? Individuals maintain asking me why I utilized for this job. I ask them, ‘Why wouldn’t I?’”
However Dr. Ledbetter is aware of he cannot do it by himself. It’s going to take each mum or dad, scholar and elected official to resolve these points. That additionally speaks to his superintendent profession. He says all of his successes have been by no means simply his personal — they have been additionally his district’s. Dr. Ledbetter is aware of Dragons are strongest once they come collectively.