Creating a School Environment that Supports and Believes in All Children
Rhonda Ham: Creating a School Environment that Supports and Believes in All Children
Ocean Shores Elementary has made substantial gains in academic achievement under Principal Rhonda Ham, who credits her staff and greater community. But as the school’s instructional leader, she is, as the saying goes, where the buck stops. It’s not hard to see she has worked diligently to create a school environment that supports and believes in all children.
Principal Ham has lived in Grays Harbor County for her entire life, raised her own four children here, and has been an educator with North Beach School District (NBSD) for 33 years.
After graduating from Hoquiam High School and Grays Harbor College, followed by Western Washington University, she briefly worked as the director of a local parks and recreation district. It wasn’t long before her passion for teaching called to her, and she answered, applying for a position here at NBSD.
She taught for eight years at the old Ocean Shores Elementary, then was hired as a science and math teacher at North Beach Junior High for another seven years. She also coached basketball and softball. She then returned to Ocean Shores Elementary, serving in a variety of roles -- 3rd grade teacher, LAP and Title I specialist -- before earning her administrative credentials and being selected as OSE principal. She’s now in her eighth year in that role.
Longevity in a small-town school district means you often know not only your students well, but their parents, grandparents and sometime great-grandparents. Those relationships give educators insights and additional opportunities to reach out to students and enhance their learning.
Principal Ham is excited about how the school community is coming back together to meet each and every kid’s needs. The greater community is noticing the renewed enthusiasm and this, she believes, has resulted in enrollment at the school shooting back up by 45 students this year.
The school has been named a Washington State School of Distinction for the second year in a row, an award that is given to the top five percent of elementary schools in Washington when ranked by growth and improvement. She’s quite proud of this award, noting, “It shows the commitment of our staff, community and parents.”
Principal Ham’s advice to parents? Don’t ever stop believing in your kid’s no matter how old. “Our kids are our most prized possession and we can never stop believing.”