Dr. Ella Ward is a candidate for Chesapeake City Council. Her name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 8, 2022.

10 On Your Side reached out to all of the candidates running in this race. If you do not see the candidate listed with a profile, we did not receive one.

See who is on your ballot by viewing the candidate lists on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Name: Dr. Ella Ward

Race: Chesapeake City Council

Biography Chesapeake Councilwoman Dr. Ella P. Ward served 35 years as a Portsmouth Public School teacher and administrator, 16 years on the Chesapeake City Council, six years on the Chesapeake School Board, eight years on the Virginia Board of Education (five of the eight years as vice president), 14 years on the HRPDC (two years as chair), 13 years on the HRTPO, and eight years on the Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University.

Elected and professional experience

  • First elected to Chesapeake City Council in 2006
  • Re-elected to Chesapeake City Council in 2010, 2014, and 2018
  • Elected to Chesapeake School Board in 2000; re-elected in 2004
  • Re-elected as chair of the Hampton Roads Planning Commission in July 2017 and June 2016 (includes 17 cities and counties) after being elected to serve the unexpired term of the former chair in April 2016.
  • Served as board chair of the Cornland School Foundation, Inc. for 12 years with the goal of restoring a one-room school that was the only school for African American students in Norfolk County (now Chesapeake) from 1902 until1953 to a museum status and has helped to raise over $100,000 thus far. Helped to secure $9 million to complete the Historical Village at the Dismal Swamp which includes the Cornland School as an anchor.
  • Appointed by former Gov. Terry McAuliffe to a 4-year term on the Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University in July 2014, and re-appointed to another 4-year term by former Gov. Ralph Northam in 2018.
  • Ran a competitive race for U.S. Congress, 4th District, in 2012 and captured 43% of the vote.
  • Ran for U.S. Congress, 4th District, in 2016, in a gerrymandered district.
  • Appointed to a 4-year term on the Virginia Board of Education by former Gov. Mark Warner in 2003.
  • Appointed to a second 4-year term on the Virginia Board of Education by former Gov. Tim Kaine in 2007.
  • Elected as vice president of the Virginia Board of Education in 2006 and was re-elected as vice president four times.
  • Elected by council colleagues to serve on the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission from 2010-2023.
  • Elected by her city council colleagues to serve on the Hampton Roads Transportation Organization from 2011-2023. Served with Mayor Alan Krasnoff (clerk of the Circuit Court) and helped the TPO to secure more than $20 billion in transportation funding for Hampton Roads’ cities and counties over the next 25 years.
  • Honored in 2011 for having served the longest term of elected and appointed office in the 140-year history of the Virginia Board of Education.
  • Retired after 35 years of service as a teacher and administrator in the Portsmouth Public School System before retiring in 2004.
  • Holds life membership in Virginia Congress of Parents and Teachers.

Formal education

  • Doctoral degree in education and supervision, Virginia Tech (2000)
  • Certificate of advanced studies degree, Virginia Tech (1999)
  • Master of science degree in educational administration from ODU (Danforth National Scholarship Recipient, 1993)
  • Master of arts degree in communications from NSU (1977)
  • Graduated class valedictorian, bachelor of arts degree, NSU (1969)
  • Class Valedictorian, East Suffolk High School (1964)

Awards and honors

  • 50-year Certificate of Achievement Award, Order of Eastern Star (2022)
  • U.S. President Joseph R. Biden’ Lifetime Achievement Award (2021)
  • 50-year Certificate of Service Award, PAC Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (2021)
  • New Chesapeake Men for Progress Lifetime Achievement Award (2019)
  • Norfolk State University Distinguished Alumni Award (2018)
  • Tidewater Seniors in Action Legacy Award (2017)
  • Chesapeake Icon of African American History (2016)
  • Norfolk State University Outstanding Alumnus Award (2015)
  • East Suffolk High School Outstanding Alumnus Award (2013)
  • Lifetime Achievement Community Service Award, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (2012)
  • Portsmouth Delicados Outstanding Teacher Award (2011)
  • Camelot and Dunedin Community Service Awards (2007; 2011)
  • ODU Outstanding Alumnus Award (2010)
  • Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Dream Maker Award (2010)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award (2009)
  • “Strong, Smart, Bold Women” Award by Girls’ Inc. (2009)
  • Zeta Phi Beta Finer Womanhood Award (2007)
  • Pan Hellenic Council Community Service Award (2003)

Community service

  • Appointed and served more than 7 years on Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission (1989-1997)
  • Appointed and served 3 years on the Chesapeake Library Board (1997-2000)
  • Worked as a volunteer on campaigns for the late Dr. Willa Bazemore and the late Dr. Hugo Owens, former mayor, Dr. William “Bill” Ward, former councilman, delegate, and now Sen. Lionell Spruill, Sen. L. Louise Lucas, and the late Sen. Yvonne Miller, former Del. Algie Howell, Rep. Robert “C” Bobby Scott, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, former Sen. Jim Webb, former councilmen C.E. Cliff Hayes, Dwight Parker, Bryan Collins, former school board members Dr. Sheila Hill, Mrs. Tina Pullen, and many others.
  • Helped to establish both Camelot and River Bend Civic Leagues
  • Dr. Ward is a member (18 years) and greeter at the Mount (Mt. Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church)

Active membership in many organizations

  • Portsmouth Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc (52 years of active membership and a past president)
  • Women’s Division Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
  • Woman’s Club of South Norfolk
  • Chesapeake Rotary Club
  • Chesapeake Sports Club
  • National Council of Negro Women, Tidewater Section
  • Norfolk State University Alumni Association, Portsmouth Chapter
  • Chesapeake Branch of NAACP (life member)
  • Chesapeake Woman’s Club
  • Camelot Civic League
  • East Suffolk High School Alumni Association
  • Tidewater Seniors in Action
  • Chesapeake Democratic Women, Past First Vice President
  • Chesapeake Democratic Committee, First Vice Chair and former Chair


She has been happily married to Herman L. Ward for 57 years, and they have one son, Torilus O. Ward (Sharron), a retired U.S. Navy commander and assistant director of facilities at Norfolk State University.

Why should residents elect you to City Council?

Residents should re-elect me to Chesapeake City Council because experience is important during these challenging times. I have a proven track record of having served the citizens of Chesapeake as an elected official for the past 22 years (six years on the school board and more than 16 years on the Chesapeake City Council).

For the past 14  years, I have represented the city of Chesapeake on two regional boards (Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the Hampton Roads Transportation Organization) that have worked together  to bring more than $20 billion dollars in infrastructure projects to the 757/Hampton Roads Region.

What are your top three priorities you would like to tackle if elected?

  1. Securing funding for public safety officers, to include a source of funding for annual raises and the completion of the public safety training facility.
  2. Completing all of Chesapeake’s transportation projects, to include the High Rise Bridge and getting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to widen the Deep Creek Bridge.
  3. Restoring curbside recycling with a minimal trash Fee.

What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?

The most pressing economic issue facing my community is the major increases in real estate taxes and personal property taxes due to increases in assessments that resulted from rapid increase in home sales and the buyers offered more than the asking price of new homes. Home sales soared during the pandemic and this resulted in more homes sold at higher rates and the increases in assessments which resulted in higher real estate taxes for home owners.

Increased values for used cars and the difficulty in getting new cars due to supply chain shortages resulted in huge increases in personal property taxes on all vehicles. I would work to actually reduce the real estate taxes to $101.1 rather than the rebates awarded to Chesapeake’s citizens, and I would work with my council colleagues to continue with the reduced personal property tax rate, which was reduced to 75% of the vehicle’s value for at least another year.

What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?

Connectivity and transportation are two of the biggest infrastructure needs in Chesapeake. If re-elected, I will continue to work with my council colleagues to make sure that Chesapeake continues with its financial commitment to support broadband and the fiber optic cable system that will provide greater connectivity for our number one school system and to help our residents in distressed communities, as well as southern Chesapeake so that they can avoid dropped calls.

I would continue to work with my council colleagues to ensure the completion of the High Rise Bridge and work with the Army Corps of Engineers to get the Deep Creek Bridge replacement accomplished. I would also work with my colleagues on council to secure more state and federal funding for enhanced “walkability,” more green space, and more support for protecting the environment.

How is gun violence affecting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?

Gun violence is having a negative impact on our Chesapeake city, as well as around the region, and it will take a unified coalition of community groups, political groups, and public safety groups to help address gun violence. If re-elected, I will work with my council colleagues and the city manager to get the entire community engaged, including community leaders, public safety officers, faith communities, business leaders, schools, young adults, public health leaders, mental health professionals, students, and parents to help tackle this problem which has reached epidemic heights, especially within the last few years.

I will work with my colleagues to provide adequate affordable housing, more jobs that provide a” living wage,” and more recreational facilities and activities that keep youth engaged and working during the summer. I would work with colleagues to demand that our state and federal leaders vote for sensible gun legislation. I would work with city, state, and federal leaders to provide resources to help eradicate poverty, areas with food deserts, public health deserts, and mental health deserts in Chesapeake.