EIS is the refrain in the ballad of Jon Ballard

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Featuring Elizabethtown's next superintendent

By Kelly Cantrall

The Elizabethtown Independent Schools district appeared time and again in Jon Ballard’s education career.


Ballard’s desire to become an educator began in the hallways of Elizabethtown High School. He learned how to be a teacher in the same building. And now, it’s fitting that when he decided to lead an entire district, he will make his home at the home of the Panthers.

Ballard was selected in April as the next EIS superintendent. He will begin the position in July after fellow Elizabethtown graduate Gary French retires.

After encountering several influential math teachers at Elizabethtown, Ballard decided to major in engineering in college. But he soon realized he enjoyed explaining the subject to others and decided to become an education major.

When he began searching for his first teaching job, he was hired at Elizabethtown. There, he saw the difficulties of teaching as well as the passion his colleagues felt for the career.

It “kind of molded me into where I wanted to be as an educator,” he said.

He would return to the district again, but not before serving in a wide and varied number of positions. After teaching at a high school, he gained experience as an administrator at the middle and elementary levels. He also worked as a district administrator dealing with issues such as truancy and school safety before returning to EIS as an associate superintendent.

Ballard currently is working as associate superintendent for human resources at Hardin County Schools.

He considered trying to land a superintendent position, but only if the situation was right for him, he said. When he learned there was an opportunity to return to EIS, he knew he would have to consider it.

“It was something that was meant to be, for me,” he said. “It was a perfect time in my career.”

Despite working at all grade levels and with district concerns ranging from transportation to legal issues of school attendance, Ballard still will encounter new responsibilities as superintendent, such as tax rates and budgeting. But returning to a district that is featured so largely in his career gives him comfort, he said.

And as someone who knows the district, he knows how important it is to its community.

“I’m honored because I know what it means to those people,” he said of being selected to lead the district.

The next few months will mean juggling learning his new role while working through the busiest time of his current role as hiring takes place at HCS. But he has taken time to read the EIS’ strategic plan and he’s excited by the district’s recent initiative to add time to the school day.

The district is “running smooth,” he said, and he’s ready to take the helm.

“It’s a good situation I’m excited about,” he said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.