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Principal - Jesse Woodward

Hi everyone!  My name is Jesse Woodward and I am the principal of Ruby Bridges Elementary!  I was born in Danbury, Connecticut and moved out to San Juan Capistrano in Southern California at the age of 2.  I grew up on the beach, eventually moving back to Connecticut for my sophomore year of high school.  I stayed in the Northeast for three years, graduating from high school with Honors.  I was offered an academic scholarship to attend Clemson University in South Carolina and gladly accepted.  I spent 5 years at Clemson getting my Bachelors in Math Teaching and a South Carolina teaching certificate.  I also learned how to play Ultimate Frisbee, playing competitively on the Varsity team for four years.  I moved out to San Francisco the summer of 1999, and have been here since.  

I am now a proud Alameda resident!  I spent my first 17 years working in Castro Valley schools.  My first 6 years were spent working at Castro Valley High School as a Math teacher, 7 years as an Assistant Principal, also at Castro Valley High School, and the next 4 years as principal of Marshall Elementary.  I also spent a year as principal of the AMAZING Lum Elementary School.  As you have heard, the AUSD School Board unfortunately voted to close the school due to fears of structural damages in the event of a large earthquake.  I consider myself fortunate to have landed here in the Ruby Bridges community. 

I love my job (Forbes said school principals had the Happiest Job in 2015) and look forward to meeting all of my new kids and families.  I enjoy saying hello at drop off, pick up, and every event during this school year.  Please come see me, or email me at if you want to discuss anything.  I am positive this will be a wonderful year.


Picture below is me with my son Elie (AY-lee), who just turned 9 and daughter Camille, 5.

Jesse Woodward


Vice Principal - Ben Lundholm

Hello everyone!

My name is Ben Lundholm, and I am thrilled to be the new Vice Principal at Ruby Bridges.  I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and getting to know you better.

I grew up in a small town a couple of hours from here and then studied Spanish and English at UC Davis.  To put myself through school, I drove tomato trucks, lifted boxes in a huge autoparts warehouse, and served as an assistant in the music library.   After graduation, I worked for a year as a counselor at a group home for SED (Severely Emotionally Disturbed) kids and then became a teacher.    I specialized in reading development and wound up teaching English, Spanish, Journalism, and Academic Literacy, mostly at a high school in the Bayview-Hunter’s Point neighborhood in San Francisco.

My work with literacy brought me in contact with various reading specialists and librarians, and I grew to really admire their work and envy their positions – to the point where I decided to go back to school for a master’s degree in Library and Information Science.  I was a middle school librarian, reading teacher, and textbook coordinator in Oakland for a year before I landed a job as the librarian at Mountain View High School.   After almost a decade there, I was unexpectedly offered a position I couldn’t refuse as a manager of a public library in East San Jose.  Most recently, for the past three years, I was a school leader, staff coach, and teacher-librarian at Franklin Elementary here in Alameda.   One of my main projects was leading the Innovative Plan there in Blended Learning.


I've been in Alameda for fourteen years, and I currently live about two miles from the school with my wife and two cats.  My interests today are similar to what they were when I was a kid: swimming, riding my bike, learning new things (especially related to technology), and reading.  A few hobbies that I adore that my younger self wouldn’t enjoy are yard work, gardening, making things out of discarded books, and traveling.   Over the past decade or so, I’ve traveled to Nicaragua, Japan, Sri Lanka, Wales, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Continental Europe.  This has been good for my Spanish but not nearly enough to learn the 30 languages that I hear are spoken at Ruby Bridges!


I am really excited to be here, and I look forward to learning and growing with this community.


The pictures below include a recent one of my wife, a goldminer, and me in Old Sacramento, and one of my cats. :)