Known as the father of Texas school law, Ralph 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 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 Dehli, 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 PTA's, Langley was the first male PTA president of Maverick Elementary School in SAISD. Also during the 1950's, Langley was a founding member of the Good Government League.
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 schools to encourage students to consider a career in law. 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.
Ralph Langley Elementary opened its doors in August of 2009. The school was designed to accommodate 800 students in 36 regular and 14 special purpose classrooms. The school was constructed as part of the 2007 voter-approved bond issue. Langley sits on an 18 acre site. Garza Bomberger architects designed this neighborhood school, and Bartlett-Crocke Construction Company served as contractor.