The new Magnolia School District Superintendent John Ward was welcomed to the community Monday before his official first day on July 1 at an ice cream social at SAU.
Ward earned his superintendent certification from SAU in 2008 and told the crowd of around 65 that he has appreciated the overwhelming welcome from the community and he looks forward to working closely with the University.
“I want SAU and the Magnolia School District to be extensions of each other and reflections of each other so that we can keep our kids here in Magnolia,” said Ward.
The “kids” Ward referred to, in part, were the distinguished speakers who preceded him in the program that included a variety of well-spoken third to tenth-grade Magnolia students.
Also welcoming Ward during the program were SAU President Dr. David Rankin, Magnolia Mayor Parnell Vann and SAU Dean of the College of Education Zaidy MohdZain.
Rankin expressed his outlook with a metaphor fit for the occasion.
“I think SAU and the Magnolia School District go together like vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup,” said Rankin. “This is a time of celebration for new leadership and new opportunities, and we are proud to be a part of it.”
The event was hosted by SAU’s Department of Educational Leadership, the SAU College of Education and the SAU Educational Renewal Zone.
Ward comes to Magnolia with 17 years of experience in education as a teacher, elementary principal and superintendent. He began his career as a sixth grade science teacher in 1997 at Horatio Elementary. In 2000, he transferred to Winthrop Elementary where he taught fifth and sixth grade science and math. He later became principal there in 2003.
In 2007, Horatio School District hired Ward to lead their district as the superintendent. Under his leadership, the district successfully completed major construction projects, increased the fund balance and increased student achievement.
His wife, Misty, will also be working for Magnolia School District. She will be a literacy coach at East Side Elementary. The couple has four kids: Will, Caleb, Eli and Rachel.