• Administration

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Dr. Sandy Ward, Principal

Let me begin by saying that I am excited about leading W.R. Odell into the 2022-2023 school year! There are many new and exciting experiences in store for all of us!

A little bit about me...
I have been dedicated to the field of education for 27 years with a specific concentration in curriculum development, professional coaching, and providing enriching opportunities for children. My administrative experience has been shaped by five years of successful leadership as an elementary Assistant Principal at W. M. Irvin Elementary, A.T. Allen Elementary, as well as Literacy Specialist for the district. My most recent assignment as principal at R. Brown McAllister Elementary, has furthered my capacity to lead a school family in the 21st century. I am elated to bring my skills as an educational leader to W.R. Odell Elementary and to work with you as a partner in education to ensure your child’s success.

I'm a proud New Yorker, but I've come to love and appreciate life in the south. As a graduate of Syracuse University, I was afforded the opportunity to graduate with a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education. My graduate work was completed at Florida Atlantic University and Western Carolina University. My faith, my family and my friends are the backbones of my life. Without all three, I couldn't successfully do my job.

Let's make it a great year for all! Go Dragons!

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Mrs. Anna Austin, Assistant Principal

I am so excited to be your new Assistant Principal. I am homegrown right here in Cabarrus County. I went to Winecoff Elementary, Northwest Middle and High. I graduated from Meredith College, in Raleigh, NC, with a B.A. in Psychology and a K-6 Licensure. I will finish my Master’s in school administration at UNCC in May. I started my career at Forest Park Elementary in Kannapolis City Schools, where I taught Kindergarten and First Grade. I came back home to Cabarrus County and taught 2nd grade at Weddington Hills. I then became the MTSS/Behavior Coach at Weddington Hills Elementary for four years. I am currently a principal intern at Northwest High School.

I married my high school sweetheart, and we have 2 boys and a pup. When not working or in college, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, going to NCSU football games (GO PACK!), traveling, and creating memories with our boys.

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Mrs. Emily Zelando, Assistant Principal

Hello! I am so excited about being an Odell Dragon!  I have been in Cabarrus County Schools for 26 years. I have been an Assistant Principal for the last 4 years. I started in the district as a Deaf Educator. I taught at Wolf Meadow for 7 years. I transitioned to Cox Mill Elementary School to be closer to home. Then, I opened up Boger Elementary School as an AIG teacher and was promoted to Assistant Principal in 2018. Now my leadership journey has brought me to Odell Elementary School. I graduated from Kent State University with a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education. I attained my Masters degree at UNCC in Special Education. I have certifications in Administration, Academically Gifted Education, and National Board Certification. 

Personally, I recently celebrated my 25th Anniversary with my husband. I am a proud mother of two children and three dogs. 

I wholeheartedly believe that ALL students can learn at high levels, and it is my goal to ensure that our children continue to receive a quality education in an environment that is safe and nurturing every day.  I am committed to working in partnership with staff, families and the community to support our children to reach their maximum potential. 

Please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or concerns. I look forward to meeting you!