2015 Alumni of the Year

For 2015, the Alton R-IV Public Schools Foundation is proud to recognize Brenda Dethrow Ledgerwood (class of ’71) as the 2015 AHS Alumni of the Year. This award is presented annually by the Alton R-IV Public School Foundation to Alumni who have made outstanding contributions to the community and the school and continue to support our students through the Alton R-4 School Foundation.

Brenda is a 1971 graduate of Alton High School and is married to Keith Ledgerwood, class of 1972. Upon graduating, she received her undergraduate Degree in Sociology/Psychology from Ouachita Baptist University, completing her undergrad degree in 2 1/2 years. She then received her Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education from Mizzou as well as a Master’s in School Guidance Counseling from Arkansas State University.

In 1974, Brenda joined with a small group of people in beginning the Jonesboro, AR, Step Ahead Program, the first program for preschool children with disabilities in Northern Arkansas . Brenda provided home-based instruction and support to preschool children and their parents within a 7-county area in NW Arkansas.

After moving to Kansas City in 1976, Brenda worked with preschoolers at the Wyandotte County Developmental Preschool in Kansas City, KS, spending many hours with families from the Argentine District, Juniper Gardens Projects, and Quindaro Street before accepting a position at Woodhaven School in Columbia, MO. Brenda soon became a full-time instructor in the Special Education Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia, working with others to develop the Early Childhood Special Education Masters Program along with a federally funded early intervention model program for preschoolers with disabilities.

In 1980, Brenda moved with her family back home to Alton, where she taught Special Education, always her classroom of choice, in area schools for many years before changing her professional role to school counselor. Brenda finished her public school career at Alton High School, where she loved being the Jr/Sr High school counselor. Although retired, Brenda continues to work part time as a Licensed School Psychological Examiner for the Alton School District. Brenda has also taught many area adults through the years as an adjunct instructor in Psychology and Sociology at Southwest Baptist University-Mtn View, and Counseling and Elementary Education for Missouri State University-Springfield on the West Plains Campus.

Brenda and Keith are the parents of two Alton High School graduates, Betsy Ledgerwood AuBuchon, who is Deputy Counsel for the Missouri Supreme Court and Patrick Ledgerwood, who serves as the Oregon County Presiding Commissioner. They are also proud grandparents of 7 grandchildren.

Brenda feels blessed to have been a part of the lives of many students for many years. Her love for the community of Alton and Alton School District led to her becoming a founding member of the Alton School Foundation Board, serving for 6 years, 3 of those as President. Brenda supports the Alton Community Foundation through yearly contributions and, along with her siblings, funds an annual scholarship for a graduating Alton senior. Brenda is always delighted to talk with anyone interested in knowing more about how tax-deductible contributions, endowed funds, scholarship funds, and planned legacy contributions can be made to the Alton School Foundation. Brenda now serves as President of the Alton Community Foundation, the umbrella organization for the Alton School Foundation and other non-profit groups in the Alton area.