When Julie Ward decided to pursue a career in administration, she chose the McKay School’s Executive School Leadership Program so that she could continue to support her family by working. The part-time program allows her to keep her job as a facilitator at Old Mill Elementary School in Heber, Utah.
Ward’s job as a facilitator sparked her interest in administration. Her position allows her to work with interns as well as carry out other administrative duties.
“As [a] facilitator I have been exposed to many aspects of administration that I was not exposed to as a classroom teacher,” Ward said. “Alongside great mentors, I have come to enjoy the interaction with fellow educators as well as students and parents at this level. I have loved the opportunity to witness all of the amazing things that happen in a school and a district, in and outside of the classroom.”
Ward feels like the chance to be an educator is a blessing in her life. “I have always felt that this was one of the ways to ‘give back’ for all that I have,” Ward said. “It is still one of the best ways I can think of to truly serve others on a daily basis and make a necessary living while doing so.”
Ward and her husband have three children. Balancing school, work, and her family has been tough but rewarding. “Fortunately, I have a very supportive husband who has been able to help out with taking the kids to their wide variety of activities,” she said. “In the long run, this is only a small step in eternity, and we know that the small sacrifices made now will be beneficial in the future.”
Despite the challenges, Ward enjoys the opportunities BYU gives her.
“The atmosphere [at BYU] is very much geared towards strengthening my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ—as much as it is about gaining knowledge that will strengthen relationships and build my capacity for the future,” Ward said. “Starting meetings and classes with prayer, reading gospel literature for classes, and learning from other very talented and spiritual professors and classmates helps to stretch me and strengthens my own spirituality and testimony.”
Even her drive to and from her home in Heber, Utah, through the canyon has helped strengthened the experience. “What a beautiful drive, to unwind and prepare for the learning that I will get to participate in,” Ward said. “Then the quiet time to really cement and plan how to apply those things that I have learned on the way back home.”
Ward grew up on a dairy farm in Logan, Utah, as one of nine children. She and her family enjoy hunting, fishing, and camping together.
Writer: Kirsten Clancy
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922