Janelle Woodward

New Position as Principal in Residence

Janelle Woodward

Janelle Woodward has spent her career investing in the lives of students as a principal. Her leadership journey includes serving as an elementary, middle and high school principal over the past 15 years. Now, she’s shifting her attention to building the capacity and leadership of administrators.

As principal in residence at Riverside Unified School District (RUSD), Woodward is serves as a expert principal for Riverside county, working as a mentor to administrators and facilitating professional development.

“Each time I meet with an administrator, I feel like I am able to help them grow in some way. Then they have the opportunity to impact learning for the students at their school,” she says. “I feel like I’m having more of a global, widespread impact for students and educators in our county.”

Prior to her current position, Woodward had served as a principal at each education level. Throughout her career, she earned the “Principal of the Year” twice: once from the RUSD board and school district, then from the RUSD Parent-Teacher Association Council.

“I was really humbled both times,” she says. “The last award really touched my heart because working with parents was a priority of mine and to know that was recognized was a huge honor.”

For some, the task of being a leader at the district level would be overwhelming. Woodward says she was prepared not only by her experience, but through earning her educational doctorate from Cal Poly Pomona.

“The program changed me as a leader,” Woodward says. “I learned so much about empowering people, the importance of process when leading school change and the greater political environment. Developing political intelligence is something that leaders don’t consider, but is really important.”

Woodward says that the most rewarding part of the program was the relationships that she built with the faculty and other members of her cohort.

“The learning that happened was life-changing. I have lifelong mentors now,” she says. “If you are committed to improving yourself as a leader, this is the place to go, without question.”