By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (June 13, 2016) — Donna Ward has always wanted to return to Stephenville, where she already feels at home.
Ward, a Tarleton State University alumnus, was named principal of Henderson Junior High in a unanimous vote by Stephenville ISD trustees, who held a called meeting Monday for a short list of action items and a budget workshop.
Ward takes the place of Renee Goodwin, who was promoted to the district’s central office. The new principal and her husband, Tré, attended Tarleton from 1999-2003.
“We lived here many (13) years ago and just absolutely fell in love with the community back then,” said Ward, who was joined by her husband at the meeting inside the district’s administration building. “We’ve always talked about coming back to Stephenville, and it’s definitely the community that has brought us back.”
Ward’s experience has come at the elementary and high school levels. Working with junior high students will be a first.
“Junior high is a level I haven’t worked with yet, so I’m excited to get to know them,” she said. “I can’t wait to get to know the staff and students and get started.”
As principal of Scott Elementary School in Temple, Ward has hands on experience implementing a digital technology initiative similar to iChampion at SISD. Henderson Junior High is scheduled to begin its phase of the iChampion launch in January, 2017.
“I’m excited about the (iChampion) initiative, which is nothing new to me,” she explained. “The school I’m at now had a digital initiative, too, so I’ve had experience with that and can’t wait to get it off the ground and running.”
Ward, Temple ISD Administrator of the Year in 2013-14, did much more than oversee a digital initiative during her four years at Scott Elementary.
“She rescued Scott Elementary from academically unacceptable status while maintaining some of the highest staff culture scores in the district,” said Stephenville ISD Superintendent Matt Underwood in an email addressed to HJH faculty and staff and local media. “She has a wealth of experience in instructional leadership, as she has served in the capacity of an instructional coach prior to her administrative tenure.”
Ward was also an assistant principal at Belton High School, where she currently resides. Her sister, Susan Kincannon, is superintendent of Belton ISD. Donna, a native of Copperas Cove, and Tré have two adult sons – Preston, 24, and Ethan, 22.