Sixty First Days
For Ellie Ward, Monday, August 31, 2015, was not just another back-to-school day. It was her 60th first day back at school. Ellie has been in the field of education since 1956 when she began teaching 4th grade in New Jersey. Through the years, she has taught 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades as well as serving in administration. Ellie began serving at Mission Hills Christian School in Rancho Santa Margarita during its inaugural year in 1980. For all these years she has been a constant reminder of what a faithful educator is. She currently serves as the school librarian and record keeper. Ellie is known for her hugs and words of encouragement to students and parents alike. The key to Ellie’s long-term success in education has been her love for people and her passion for learning.
Ellie remembers the days when, as a teacher in public school, reading of scripture and prayer were a regular part of her classroom routine. In 1963, Bibles were removed from the classroom, and Ellie was no longer able to share her faith openly. Her favorite thing about being at a Christian school is the ability to come alongside parents and students and support them through prayer and to be able to encourage them in difficult circumstances by sharing from the Word of God. Even now, her attitude remains constant—positive and hopeful. “The Lord and attitude are my bookends.”