Get to know Sessions Elementary Principal Elizabeth Ward

Elizabeth Ward was appointed the new principal at Sessions Elementary School in Pacific Beach on April 11.
(Cyril A. Reinicke)

Pacific Beach meet Elizabeth Ward, the principal of Sessions Elementary School.

High energy — check! Enthusiastic — double check!! Brings a can-do spirit to school every day — triple check!!!

Ward was welcomed to Sessions in January from Canyon Hills High School (formerly Serra High) in Tierrasanta, where she was an associate principal for six years.

While born in Newport, Rhode Island, her family moved to San Diego when she was very young. She attended Tierrasanta Elementary School, Farb Middle School and graduated from Sierra High School.

Ward said her fondest childhood memories are spending the summers back on the East Coast with her grandparents.

As for how she chose an education career, she said both of her maternal grandparents were teachers.

“My grandfather was a high school teacher, athletic coach and school headmaster or principal,” Ward said. “I followed in his footsteps due to wanting to be just like him.

“My grandfather was energetic, kind, outgoing and everyone loved him. I wanted to be just like that,” she added.

Ward is a graduate of the University of San Diego, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. She earned her teaching credential and master’s degree in teaching from National University, then returned to USD for her administrative credential.

After teaching all levels of high school English for 18 years and coaching field hockey for 21 years, Ward was promoted to associate principal. In January, the opportunity to lead a school presented itself, she applied and after 14 weeks as interim principal at Sessions Elementary the assignment became permanent on April 11.

Ward said her goals for Sessions include creating a climate “where all students are achieving academically, feel welcomed every day and that they belong here every single day.

“I am interested in creating strong partnerships with the families by being visible, easily approachable and through consistent communication,” Ward said. “I am eager to lead the work the staff has started here at Sessions.”

Principal Elizabeth Ward enjoying an enthusiastic game of lunch time tetherball with Sessions student Lily Martinez.
Principal Elizabeth Ward enjoying an enthusiastic game of lunch time tetherball in spring 2023 with Sessions Elementary student Lily Martinez.
(Cyril A. Reinicke)

Sessions Elementary is an International Baccalaureate school, which means its staff and community is dedicated to a unique instructional model and curriculum plan that emphasizes an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning.

According to officials, all IB schools emphasize the development of a student’s learner profile — to be a knowledgeable, inquiring, open-minded and respectful thinker. IB students learn to communicate, take risks, act with integrity and recognize their interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.

“Sessions is an International Baccalaureate school so our vision revolves around our students embodying the IB Learner Profile and ensuring all students are experiencing equitable academic, social and emotional success,” Ward said.

As for her personal life, she is the mother of a 12-year-old daughter.

“I am a single mom with a large village of friends and family,” Ward said. “My favorite children’s authors are Kate DiCamillo (“The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”) and Katherine Applegate (“Crenshaw”). We have always had animals in our family. Currently we have an 8-year-old black lab, Abby, and a 2-year-old golden retriever, Bo Bear.

“My parents live close to me and are amazing grandparents,” she said. “My mom has inspired me to be a successful and confident woman in whatever I do.”

In the summer and winter Ward said she enjoys spending time in the great outdoors in and around Big Bear Lake.

“I love to be on boats and on the water,” she said.

Fun facts about Elizabeth Ward

• She is conversationally fluent in Spanish. Her dream is to spend an entire summer in Spain.

• She is an Angel’s Foster Family Network board of directors member.

• She always played sports growing up. Favorite sports are basketball, soccer and field hockey.