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Danville Independent Schools

These individuals were KY superintendents during the 2023-24 school year and also DISD graduates: Ron Ballard, Jackie Risden Hawley, Sheri Satterly and Matt Turner.
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Last school year, Kentucky had four public school superintendents who also happen to be Danville High School graduates. 

These individuals are: Danville Independent Schools Superintendent Ron Ballard; Fairview Independent Schools Superintendent Jackie Risden Hawley; Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Sheri Satterly; and Boone County Schools Superintendent Matt Turner, who retired at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. 

Ballard, Risden Hawley and Turner shared stories about their experience in the Danville Schools, and how their time as students made them want to become educators. 

Ron Ballard, superintendent, Danville Independent Schools

Ron Ballard

Danville Independent Schools’ very own superintendent, Ron Ballard, is a 1989 Danville High School graduate. 

He said taking on leadership roles in clubs, student council and athletics during his time in the DISD paved the way to leadership roles in his time as an educator. The athletics he participated in were football, wrestling, and basketball. 

“Being a co-defensive captain, as well as serving as a club officer and student council representative, fostered an environment that encouraged me to take leadership roles,” he said. “Once I decided to become an educator, I knew that education leadership was in my future. I never imagined becoming a superintendent.”

Ballard’s first job in the DISD was while he was still a student; he was a dishwasher at Bate Middle School (now John W. Bate Middle School) and DHS. Prior to that, he was a student at Jennie Rogers Elementary School. 

When he became an educator, he had out-of-state teaching jobs in New Hampshire and returned to the DISD to work as a teacher in 2002. 

Ballard has been superintendent since January 2024. The prior administrative roles he has held in the DISD include chief of operations, director of pupil personnel and support services (DPP), and principal at Toliver Elementary School (now Edna L. Toliver Intermediate School).

Jackie Risden Hawley, superintendent, Fairview Independent Schools

Jackie Risden Hawley

Jackie Risden Hawley graduated from Danville High School in 1996. She attended the former Jennie Rogers Elementary School, Bate Middle School and Danville High School. 

“In second grade, I decided I wanted to be a teacher because of my second grade teacher, Mrs. Hamblin,” she said. “She was one of the most compassionate teachers I had as a student. I remember being in her classroom and wanting to be a teacher just like Mrs. Hamblin. Another teacher who greatly impacted me as a student of Danville Schools was a high school teacher, Mrs. Miller. She created a classroom environment that was encouraging and made the content exciting as part of her instruction. She always pushed me to do my best.”

“Another educator who impacted me greatly was Coach Tillman,” she continued. “He was on my basketball coaching team in middle school and high school. I remember the time he spent teaching me in the gym and knowing he was investing time in a player that didn't have the skills to impact wins or losses of our team. I had a passion for basketball that came with a lack of skill or natural abilities. He saw my passion, and that mattered enough to him that he wanted to help me be the best that I could be. The education of a student goes beyond the bell-to-bell instruction. Athletics had a significant impact on the person I am today.”

Now, Risden Hawley is starting her seventh year as superintendent at Fairview Independent Schools. Prior to her time as superintendent, she has been a teacher, instructional coach, principal, director of special education and chief academic officer. 

Matt Turner, retired superintendent, Boone County Schools

Matt Turner

Matt Turner, a 1985 Danville High School graduate, attended the same schools as Ballard and Risden Hawley in his time as a student in Danville. He just retired after his fourth year as superintendent of Boone County Schools.

Turner attended Bate Middle School when the current building was brand-new, which he described as a “neat experience.” Much of what he remembers during his time as a student is his great connections with teachers and friends. 

He said his teachers “modeled being good people, and they modeled the fun they had in teaching and the satisfaction that they got in helping students.”

His teachers had high expectations, “but they also knew how to help you reach those expectations,” he said.

He can probably name at least one teacher he had at each grade level in the Danville Schools — that’s how much of an impact they had on him. 

“A lot of my memories are of friends, great experiences with friends,” he added. “We did win the state championship in football my senior year. That was a highlight as well.”

After he graduated from DHS and went to college, he didn’t immediately study education. Originally, he wanted to be a computer programmer, but he changed paths to study education at the University of Kentucky. 

“Part of that was due to some of the phenomenal teachers I had in the Danville Schools at that point in time,” he said. “They made such an impact on me that it helped me understand what I wanted to do.”

As a young teacher, he didn’t think he’d ever be an administrator, but he pursued administrative roles after some mentors of his said that though the impact on students as an administrator is more indirect than as a teacher, an administrative role ultimately allows an educator to impact more children each year. 

Prior to his role as Boone County Schools superintendent, Turner’s administrative roles have been as an assistant principal and athletic director at Lloyd Memorial High School, and as an assistant principal at Larry A. Ryle High School, where he later became principal for 14 years. 

This piece is part of an ongoing series telling the stories of our Danville Alumni! We share a new alumni story once a month, and we want YOUR story. If you or someone you know is a Danville graduate and an excellent representative of the Danville community and the idea of #SuccessForALL, whether they live in Danville or not, please fill out the form linked below. You can also show your Danville Alumni pride on social media with the hashtag #DanvilleAlumniStories


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