CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte community is mourning the death of a beloved principal within the school district.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials announced Dr. Eric Ward Sr. died Wednesday, September 22. The cause of his death has not been released at this time. He worked for the school district for more than two decades and was recently the principal at Harding University High School.
For Sabrina Gilchrist, Ward is the person she thinks about when it comes to her organization Right Moves for Youth.
“When we would do March Madness basketball tournaments or some of the field trips, we would go on with the students he would be out there making jokes,” she said.
Gilchrist says Ward was a man who truly loved his students.
“Dr. Ward fully believed that every young person deserves access to the resources and support they need to be successful,” she said.
Gilchrest met Ward years ago when he worked at West Mecklenburg High School and helped to bring her school-based student support program to the school.
“He has been a long-time friend, a huge supporter of this organization,” she said. “We watched him move up through the ranks if you will into various principal positions and quite honestly anywhere Dr. Ward went as a principal, he made sure Right Moves was right there with him.”
After his passing Wednesday, many across social media shared memories and condolences for the former principal.
“It lets me know he touched many lives and he left a legacy,” said Mario Black.
Black, who was a former CMS teacher. He says Ward was a long-time friend and had a way of connecting with his students.
“That’s one of the most powerful things you can do is meet them where they are,” he said. “Let them know that you love them. Let them know that you care. Show them that you love and care and E. Ward did that every day on these grounds here at Harding.”
While Gilchrest misses her friend, she knows it’s even more important now for her and others to keep up with Ward’s mission.
“For me it fortifies, reinvigorates my passion and my commitment to making sure that Dr. Ward’s advocacy doesn’t go to waste,” she said.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Teachers released a statement:
“The CMAE family is mourning the loss of Principal Dr. Eric Ward, Sr., a longtime member, respected educator, and leader. Dr. Ward worked for CMS for more than two decades, most recently as principal of Harding High.
He was well known for his supportive leadership and his sparkling sense of humor, and he will be missed by so many. Our hearts and prayers go out to Dr. Ward’s wife and children, the Harding High, Olympic, West Mecklenburg, Wilson, and Independence community, and the many people whose lives Dr. Ward touched. Rest in Peace.”