Dr. Cheryl James-Ward started her career as a software engineer for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California working on the Magellan Project which sent a spacecraft to Venus. Because of her love for education, she took a leave from aerospace and pursued her first love, teaching. She never looked back and served as a math teacher, dean of discipline, vice principal, principal, director supervising elementary and middle schools, a tenured professor, a CEO of a charter organization and superintendent of schools.
Dr. James-Ward served as the Chief of Academics and then CEO for e3 Civic High, noted as one of the most innovative schools in the nation. At e3, Dr. Ward worked with her team to create a new way of teaching and learning called Voice and Choice which allowed students to have self-efficacy in their own education. After lunch students would be the architects of their learning by designing how to use their afternoon time. This included opportunities for community college dual enrollment, internships, study time, tutoring, design thinking projects, e-sports, wealth building sessions, and more. Under Dr. James-Ward, e3 Civic High was also a leader in developing mental health support systems, creating wrap-around services for students and families; one-on-one, group and family counseling sessions led by licensed therapists and interns; Saturday parent and student support groups; and a system-wide approach to responding to mental challenges with levels of care and second/third-level responders.
Most recently, Dr. James-Ward was Superintendent of Schools for a High School District. In her tenure, she started site walks with district and site leadership teams to ensure that every child was seen, supported and educated to the highest levels. She initiated community collaborations to further ensure that all students had the support needed. She met with the student leadership teams on various campuses to understand their unique needs and provided opportunities for students from each school to showcase their work through the creation of Talk Around Towns.
From 2007 to 2023, Dr. James-Ward was a tenured professor at San Diego State University (SDSU). From 2013-2018, she dedicated her research to 2030 schools. Dr. James-Ward’s research led to her becoming a maverick in Design Thinking and training both districts and schools in the process. This is how she came to e3 and enjoyed working at both the university and e3 for several years. Some of her other accomplishments at the University include establishing the Online Masters in Educational Leadership (with a focus on technology) which after just five years was ranked 11th in the nation by BestColleges.com. She also started the Chinese and American Leadership Symposium bringing educators from across The People’s Republic of China to collaborate and innovate with those from San Diego County.
Currently, Dr. James-Ward enjoys the title Professor Emeritus, continues to chair dissertation
committees, teach doctoral courses and is committed to making a difference for the most
at-promise students by supporting them through self care advocacy and mathematics education.
Dr. Ward is married with two children and resides in San Diego, CA.
Copyright © 2023 Reflections Publishing LLC - All Rights Reserved.