Ballard History

  • Principal, Rudy Keezer
    Rudy Keezer
    Ballard Elementary's auditorium is one of Manatee County's oldest buildings. In its long history, Ballard has been the setting for the usual and the unusual, the ordinary and the dramatic. The county constructed a new facility in 2001-2002, renovating the auditorium as a performance hall which will serve the community. Ballard is situated on Wares Creek. The property was donated by Dr. Charles Ballard, a philanthropist, businessman, and legislator. Ballard Intermediate School, as it was originally named, became a tribute to the generosity of Dr. Ballard when it was named for him in 1922. Dr. Ballard also donated the land for the county's first high school, Manatee County High School. When Dr. Ballard died in 1901. He left behind both educational and religious legacies for the community.
    Ballard's Architecture
    The original building included sixteen classrooms and an auditorium with a balcony, which was later sealed off in order to conserve energy in 1983 when air conditioning was installed. In 1941 when Mrs. Blanch Daughtrey was the principal, a new wing was added to the school and was named the Sue Stuart Annex. The lunchroom was built in 1955 and was connected to the main building by a breezeway. The cafeteria was destroyed by fire in the early 1960s, and until the cafeteria was rebuilt, students were bussed from Ballard to Manatee Elementary for lunch.

    By the 1980s, the school was beginning to show its age, and Ballard's principal, Doug de Gruchy supervised major renovations to bring back the former elegance of the Mediterranean-style architecture. The renovators were impressed by the quality of the workmanship in the original building. They discovered the walls were double-thick block with double bricks on the exterior. But Ballard's roof was in such bad condition, interior ceilings were beginning to fall. Major roof repairs were done, as well as painting, installation of new plumbing and electrical wiring, air conditioning, and replacement of wooden windows and sills with aluminum. In 1984, sidewalks were built and the grounds were transformed from shell to sod. Alan Garner, a local landscape artist, removed the shell, brought in topsoil and sod, and with the help of the P.T.A., planted more than 400 trees and shrubs.

    Leaders in Ballard's History
    Ballard's principals remain a part of the story, as their integrity in leadership act as role models for students, staff, and the community.


    1922-1924   Mr. Hall
    1924-1929   Mr. Mellott
    1929-1952   Blanche Daughtrey
    1952-1966   Melvin J. Bates
    1966-1975   Jack Dietrich
    1975-1977   Hillard Story
    1977-1986   Doug de Gruchy
    1986-2000   Altamease McPherson
    2000-2008   Nanette Rankin
    2008-2012   Mary Bidwell
    2012-2016   Wendy Mungillo

    2016-2021   Mike Masiello

    2021-Present  Rudy Keezer