Last Monday, on the first day back for all teachers, Ward announced that he will be retiring at the end of the school year. It will mark the end of a 30-year career with the Carter County School System, culminating with seven years as director of schools.
“I wanted to give the announcement early so they can make their plans,” Ward said. “It is time to plan, It is a process.”
Ward gave a hint of his intentions during his last employment contract negotiation with the Carter County Board of Education. He pointed out he will reach the 30-year mark in his career in June.
Looking back at his career in education, it appears that that Ward was destined to serve as a director of schools. It was a far different point of view for a young man who had just graduated from college. He planned a career in industry and in sales. He followed that path for six years. He then made an abrupt course correction and went back to school took at his teaching certification in economics and psychology.
That did not appear to be such a good choice when he failed to find a teaching position the first year after he received his certification.
He was more fortunate the next year, 1989-90, when he once again searched for a teaching job and attributed his success to then Carter County School Superintendent Ernest “Black Cat” Rasar, and two of senior educators in the system, Steve Payne and Harry Sisk.
Although a permanent position was not available, Ward was hired in a temporary role for a teacher who was going to be out for the year.
“That gave me an opportunity and I really appreciate those men for giving me the chance,” Ward said.
Ward said his employment became permanent when Sisk, who was the economics teacher at Hampton High School, became principal at Hampton Elementary.
For the next six years, Ward taught at the high school and also coached middle school football and basketball and freshmen boy’s basketball.
“That was a great time. I got to work directly with the kids and teach them. I also got to coach them,” Ward said.
In 1996, Ward’s career in administration began when he became principal at Hampton Elementary. He led the school for three years, before being picked by then-Superintendent Raymond Hill in 1999 to be facilities director.
Ward has been at the Central Office since that time, reaching the position of assistant director of schools under his predecessor, Shirley Ellis. He succeeded her as director.
“It’s been a fast seven years,” Ward said of his time as director.
“I have been very fortunate, I have had a great staff,” Ward said. He said the staff is “young, energetic and ambitious.”
He said Assistant Director of Schools Peggy Campbell has been especially helpful in handling personnel matters. He said his supervisors have always worked together to complete the missions and solve problems. He also spoke highly of his administrative secretary, Amanda Scalf.