mural of Ralph Langley with San Antonio and books in the background


Portrait of Ralph Langley
Known as the father of Texas school law, Ralph G. Langley was committed to public education, public service, and the legal profession.

Langley grew up in Dallas, and though he struggled financially, he ultimately earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He began his law career in 1937 at the San Antonio law firm where he had worked during the summers in law school. The firm eventually became Langley & Banack, the now-venerable San Antonio law firm.

Langley's law career was briefly interrupted during World War II, when he served five years in the U.S. Army. He married his wife, Doris in 1943, and shortly after was shipped to New Delhi, India. He returned home with a Bronze Star and the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Langley and his wife had two daughters, and in 1953, long before it was common for men to be involved with PTAs, Langley was the first male president of Maverick Elementary School in San Antonio ISD. Also during the 1950s, Langley was a founding member of the Good Government League, which worked to clean up corruption in San Antonio city government.

In 1970, Langley, already a school law expert, was one of eight attorneys who crafted the School Law section of the State Bar. It established a protocol for how all school districts should function, taking into account the rights of students, parents, staff members, board members, and taxpayers.

Soon after, he became one of Northside ISD's first district lawyers and was instrumental in helping the rural school system transition into a large, urban and suburban district. Those who worked with Langley say it is because of his influence that Northside has always had a reputation for following the law and treating people fairly.

Northside ISD wasn't just one of Langley's clients. He could always be counted on to speak at a school's Career Day, and he frequently visited high school fairs to encourage students to consider a career in law.

He was equally dedicated to the city of San Antonio, serving at various times as Chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Public Library. He also served as President of the San Antonio Bar Association , and in 1999, Langley received the Joe Frazier Brown Senior Award for Excellence for his outstanding leadership and service to members of the legal community and citizens of Texas.

Langley continued practicing law until shortly before his death in 2003 at the age of 88. He leaves behind a legacy of hard work, preparation, and loyalty - qualities he would want every student of Langley Elementary School to espouse.
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