Career Over In Virtually Days

Mrs. Ward to Retire at Year’s End


As you might have heard, at the end of this school year we are losing one of our very best to retirement at West Geauga, Mrs. Josephine Ward. Mrs. Ward has been a guided study hall proctor since 2008 and also a yearbook co-adviser with Mrs. Klampe since 1999. Originally, in her West Geauga career, Mrs. Ward started at Westwood in 1996 before coming to the high school in 1998. 

Mrs. Josephine Ward is a homegrown, “eastside Clevelander” who attended Catholic schools for 12 years. She then went on to Ohio University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in social work. She is married to a wonderful, hard-working man named Richard, and she has twin sons, Chuck and Joe, who graduated from West Geauga in 2001. 

Before making her way into education, at the age of 15 Mrs. Ward began her first job at a local ice cream shop where there was no air conditioning. During her college years, she worked as a summer camp counselor and at a toy factory. After college, she worked as a cashier at Heinens, with, ultimately, the goal of saving money to go back for her masters degree. However, as sometimes happens, that plan didn’t come to fruition, as marriage and children intervened. She then applied to West G in’96 and worked in food service until she was hired as the G.H.S. proctor. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. 

As her years at West G are coming to an end, it is always good to look back on the memories made. Ward says her favorite part about working at the high school was, “The people, both staff and students. I’ve made many life-long friends while here and have loved getting to know the students. High school kids are hilarious and fun to be around…most of the time.” Some of the things that she won’t miss are, “…no alarm clocks, staying in pjs until lunch…seriously, looking forward to the freedom of doing what I want, when I want.  Once Covid is not a thing, I’d love to do some traveling.” 

After 23 years of dedication, Mrs. Ward says her feelings toward leaving are more bittersweet. She says, “I’m really excited to start a new adventure, but, at the same time, I can’t help but wonder how in the heck it happened so fast since I’m still 17 in my mind.” 

Reflecting on her years at West G, Mrs. Ward was able to create the most wonderful friendship with Mrs. Klampe. The two have worked side -by- side, creating yearbooks for 23 years and regard each other as the other half of their collective brain. Creating the yearbook with Mrs. Klampe was a wonderful experience for both of them and the student staff as well. Each year was a whole new adventure, producing an entirely different book than the year before.

Ward’s goal throughout her career has always been, “…to be a positive role model and to help students to envision their dreams and then work to achieve success.” This Covid-filled year (in particular) fulfilled a “bucket list” goal, as it required us to face adversity and to think outside the box. “Although I could have officially retired last October, I was determined to accept the challenge and to see it through as a show of support to both students and staff.” 

As her career ends, there are a few things that Ward will miss once she leaves. As she says, “Clearly, the people and, of course, the money.” 

She wants people to remember, though,  “The warden [was] someone who really cared, who tried to lead by example, and a person who mutually respected rather than one who demanded it.” 

Now her year…and the book…are closed !