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Belton ISD names Principals for the new Lake Belton High School and Belton High School

Principals Ben Smith and Jill  Ross

Belton ISD Superintendent Susan Kincannon announced that Jill Ross has been selected to serve as the first principal of the district’s second comprehensive high school, currently under construction in the City of Temple. Ross will be serving in this new role beginning August 2019, supporting the extensive planning process leading up to the opening of Lake Belton High School.

“We have a tremendous task ahead of us to ensure Lake Belton High School is ready to welcome its first students in August 2020,” Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said. “Having already earned the trust and respect of staff and the confidence of administration, Jill is the right person to establish a strong foundation of success for Lake Belton High School and support students as they transition to the new campus.” 

Dr. Kincannon also noted the important work Ross will spearhead includes facilitating the selection of staff, the development of processes and systems for students and staff, the identification of instructional materials across all subject areas, and the selection of furniture and equipment for specialized programs areas.

Ross has been a high school principal in Belton ISD for six years, serving first at Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow before moving to Belton High School in 2017. Prior to that, she was the district’s Executive Director of Special Programs and served as an assistant principal at Miller Heights Elementary. Ross has 25 years of experience in education including 15 years in Belton ISD. She earned a master’s degree in special education from Texas Tech University and a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to continue my work as a high school principal in Belton ISD,” Ross said. “I’m looking forward to engaging students and our community in efforts to establish a strong campus culture at Lake Belton High School that delivers on our district’s mission to provide an education that challenges every student to excel.”

The announcement also included the selection of current Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow Principal Ben Smith to lead Belton High School next year.

Smith has been the principal at Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow since 2017. He has 17 years of experience in education including 12 in Belton ISD. Before becoming a principal,

Smith served as a high school and middle school assistant principal after starting in the district as a teacher and coach at Belton High School. In 2015, while working at Lake Belton Middle School, Smith was recognized as the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Region 12 Middle School Association Principal of the Year.

Smith earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University and a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University.

“I love Belton High School, and I’m excited to return to the campus full time in this new role,” Smith said. “I look forward to building upon the success that our students and staff have already accomplished.”

In describing Ross and Smith’s demonstrated ability to collaborate and meet the diverse needs of students, Kincannon added, “It’s exciting to name Jill and Ben for these key positions as our district and community continue preparing to open Lake Belton High School. Over the last decade, I have seen firsthand the commitment these leaders have to the success of students, and I appreciate their continued dedication to Belton ISD. They have worked diligently to increase student achievement while building strong school cultures that support the academic, behavior and social-emotional needs of our children.”

About Lake Belton High School:

In May 2017 voters approved a $149.7 million bond program to fund the construction of two new Belton ISD campuses and projects at two existing facilities to address the continued fast growth of Belton ISD.

With capacity for approximately 2,500 students, Lake Belton High School is slated for completion in time for the 2020-2021 school year. The campus will open with grades nine and ten.

Belton ISD’s current high school enrollment is 3,374. By the time the first class graduates from Lake Belton High School in 2023, the District is expected to have approximately 4,200 high school students. 

Elizabeth Cox