Keeley Ward has been appointed the new principal of Union Grove Elementary School. Mrs. Ward will
assume her responsibilities effective June 1, 2020. She will replace principal Kelley James, who will
retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Mrs. Ward is a veteran educator and a life-long resident of Northern Iredell County. Mrs. Ward
obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Catawba College. She also received her
Masters of Arts in Public School Administration from Appalachian State University.
Mrs. Ward began her service in the Iredell-Statesville Schools in 2001 as a classroom teacher. She has
also served the district as a Literacy Coach, an Instructional Facilitator and the IB Coordinator at
Northview IB School. Her leadership roles included service as the Assistant Principal and Principal at
Celeste Henkel Elementary School.
Superintendent Johnson is confident that Mrs. Ward is the right leader for Union Grove Elementary
School. “Mrs. Ward has faithfully served the I-SS school district for many years, and we look forward
to having her serve at Union Grove Elementary. Her knowledge of elementary curriculum, love of
students, and desire to serve her own community makes her a perfect fit for Union Grove.”
Ward stated, “I am honored to move to Union Grove, a highly respected community and school of
North Iredell where I live. I will hold the Celeste community dear to my heart forever. It has been a
wonderful ride where all of us give our best work, our best heart!”
Regarding Mrs. James retirement, Superintendent Johnson stated, “While I celebrate Mrs. James’
retirement, I am saddened to see a leader with her compassion close her career and leave public
education. Mrs. James has done an exemplary job as the principal of Union Grove Elementary. She will
be remembered for her genuine love of her students, her dedication to her staff and commitment to
the community that she calls home. I know you join me in wishing Mrs. James the very best as she
begins a new chapter in her life.