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In Memoriam: Jim Ledyard


Former Ravenscroft Headmaster Jim Ledyard passed away June 25, 2022, in Annapolis, Maryland. He was 75. He served at Ravenscroft 1991-2002.

The following is taken from his obituary.

Ledyard was born on August 1, 1946, in San Jose, California. A tennis star, avid sailor and student council representative, Ledyard graduated from Bellarmine College Prep and then went on to Princeton University, where he studied English language and literature. At Princeton, Ledyard worked in the Teacher Preparation and Placement Office, which he would later direct.

Ledyard was in the ROTC program during his undergraduate years, and he was commissioned into the U.S. Navy as an ensign after his graduation in June 1968. He married Patricia Lynn Friel on April 12, 1969, after his first cruise in the Mediterranean, where he served as a Damage Control Officer on an ammunition ship called the USS Nitro. Ledyard was decommissioned Lieutenant Junior Grade in June of 1971.

After completing a one-year graduate degree at Stanford University, Ledyard returned to Princeton’s Teacher Prep and Placement Office; there, he taught prerequisite courses and supervised student teaching for undergraduates who wanted to receive a New Jersey state teaching license. After four years he seized his first opportunity to be a school administrator as the Upper School Principal at (then) Harvard School in Los Angeles, California. While at Harvard School, Ledyard completed his coursework for a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Claremont Graduate School. 

From this position and with these academic credentials, Ledyard began a nearly 40-year career in educational leadership in independent schools, charter schools, higher education and educational consulting. Most notably, Ledyard served three schools as headmaster: Kentucky Country Day School, Germantown Academy and, his longest tenure, Ravenscroft School, 1991-2002. Before retiring in 2014, Ledyard was recruited to develop curriculum, hire faculty and staff, and launch the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico; he also served as Principal at Monte del Sol Charter School. 

Among his colleagues, Ledyard is remembered for his vision and innovation, for his skillful and deft approach to identifying and cultivating school leaders and for his successful record of fundraising and facility/campus improvements. He never lost his love for Shakespeare and the theater, fine Italian food, and watching and playing golf, and he enjoyed tennis and sailing for almost his entire life. After his first marriage ended in divorce, Ledyard married Martha Kendall on April 18, 2010, in the beautiful backyard of their home, the New Mexican desert and mountains serving as a backdrop; they enjoyed living and working together in Santa Fe, and ultimately they relocated to Annapolis to be closer to their children and grandchildren. 

Ledyard is survived by two of his sisters, Peggy and Jane; his first wife, Patricia, and their children, Katherine ’94 and Brian ’97; his second wife, Martha, and her children, Melanie and Jason; and his three grandchildren and five step-grandchildren. A service will be held at a later date.