About Us


To develop lifelong learners in an innovative and nurturing learning community which empowers all students to be competent, productive, caring and responsible citizens.


We believe that the most promising strategies for achieving the mission of Ralph Downs Elementary is to be:

  • To be steadfast advocates committed to academic success by monitoring student progress.
  • Partners with our school community by providing guidance, tools & resources to ensure student success
  • Aligned to common SMART goals
  • Professional Learning Communities and Collaborative Teams
  • Relationship builders with ALL students by discovering and celebrating diversity


Principal's Message

Ralph Downs Elementary School Families,

It is with tremendous joy and excitement to be named principal at Ralph Downs Elementary School.  I have 22 years of experience in education – teaching all ages, pre-K to University.  My husband is also an educator and recently retired from Putnam City School District.

We have four children and a fur baby.  We are empty nesters and love hiking, going to the lake, reading, and watching movies together!  We met through a mutual interest in music and continue to stay involved in music through our church, Crossings.  

Children and teachers are my life! I love to encourage others, to learn and share in that learning as well as take care of the needs of teachers and students.  It is my life’s work and I am so glad that this part of our journey brought us together.  We all have a story to tell.  I look forward to learning about your student and hearing their story!

We are in unpredictable and unprecedented times.  Now, more than ever, our students need hope and need to learn how to adapt quickly to new challenges.  Your commitments to your student and to Ralph Downs Elementary School are so important.   Thank you for all that you do and will continue to do to help your child be successful at school.

I was recently reminded of what an incredible man Ralph Downs was as a long-time leader in Putnam City.  He was known as a man who would always listen wholeheartedly, had an open-door policy and always made time for families and students.  What a powerful legacy he has left for all of us!  In a time and day when unkindness can trickle into so many areas of our life – he reminds us that kindness, compassion, and a listening ear are powerful enemies against hatred and indifference.

I look forward to partnering with you in creating a place of hope and success for all of our students and families.  My promise to you is to love your child well, and to have your child’s best interest in mind with every decision I make.

All my best,


Susan Illgen, Principal



Accountability Reports

Office ofEducational Quality & Accountability

School Profile

A-F School Grading System

School Report Card

As a recipient of a grant or subgrant under the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6401), please report to the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Education if you observe, detect, or suspect improper use of taxpayer funds.