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Kingsway names Ward new head softball coach; new assistant coaches Walek, Bernat and Ott

Kingsway names Jill Ward as new head softball coach; new assistant coaches named





Dr. James J. Lavender, Superintendent  

Kingsway Regional School District

(O): 856-467-4600 ext. 4205

(C): 856-217-5192

(F): 856-467-5382



Woolwich Twp. – Kingsway Regional School District named Jill Ward the new high school head varsity softball coach at the recent meeting of the Board of Education on December 19th. Superintendent, Dr. James J. Lavender made the announcement on Friday.


Jill comes to Kingsway with more than 30 years of experience as an outstanding player and coach. She was a high school standout at Interboro High School where she was named Delco Player of the Year and first Team All Area. After high school, she played at Lehigh University where she pitched nearly 500 innings and amassed 50 career wins. She was twice named to the All Patriot League.


Prior to joining Kingsway as head coach, Jill led the South Jersey Lady Blue Jays 14u program and currently serves as the Director of Softball Operations for the South Jersey Blue Jays. She is the co-owner of SJ Sports Mill, an organization specializing in individual and team baseball and softball training.


“We are excited to welcome a coach of Jill’s caliber to an already competitive program. Jill is highly respected as a softball coach and her passion for the game and ability to relate to our young ladies will serve our program well,” said Superintendent Lavender.


Jill earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Lehigh University and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of South Carolina. She works as a licensed clinical social worker and mental health therapist for Crozer Keystone Health System.


“We are very excited to have Coach Ward onboard and look forward to her passion and knowledge of softball, her positive attitude and love for Kingsway and our community. She is another outstanding coach we have added to the athletic department,” said Kingsway’s Athletic Director June Cioffi.


Middle school health & physical education teacher Alexandra (Ali) Walek and high school health & physical Education teacher Erin Bernat and will join the program this spring as new assistant coaches. Dana Ott, the 2019 middle school Teacher of the Year and head field hockey coach, will return to the program as an assistant coach. 


“We are providing our very competitive softball program a strong cadre of coaches who are passionate about their sport and equally passionate about working hard to help develop our student-athletes in the classroom and on the diamond,” Lavender continued.


Head Coach Ward and Assistant Coaches Ott, Walek and Bernat plan to meet with student athletes as soon as school reopens in the New Year.


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About Ali Walek

Ali was a four-year letter winner in softball at Montclair State. She appeared in 98 games for the Red Hawks as both a position player and pitcher. She batted .341 her freshman season and led the team with four triples. She made 13 appearances as a pitcher, threw 24.1 innings in relief, and was named NJAC Academic All-Conference Honorable Mention after the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons. At Parsippany Hills High School, Ali was a four-year starter and was captain her senior season. Ali was named All-NJAC second team as a junior and senior and Honorable mention as a sophomore.


About Erin Bernat

Erin was a four-year starter for the Glassboro Bulldogs softball and field hockey teams and several ASA travel teams throughout high school. Upon graduation, Erin attended Rowan University from 2009-2012. In 2012, she was named the NJACA All-Conference 1st Team and was an Eastern College Athletic Conference Mid-Atlantic All-Star Selection. Erin played in the North/South Senior All-Star Game, served as Team Captain, was a three-time Rowan Scholar-Athlete and was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III National Academic Squad in 2009. Erin coached the South Jersey Edge Field Hockey Club and was a three-year assistant field hockey coach at Rowan University. Before joining Kingsway in 2019, Erin served as Glassboro High School’s Head Varsity Softball and Varsity Field Hockey Coaching positions in 2018 and 2019.


About Dana Ott

Dana Ott, a graduate of Kingsway’s Class of 2006 and outstanding student athlete and Dragon Award winner, has served as the Head Varsity Field Hockey coach since 2018, where she has led the Lady Dragons to two consecutive Group IV Championship games. Dana attended Villanova University on a full field hockey scholarship earning All Big East and All Region Honors as well as being named to the All-Academic Team. Dana would go on to serve as a field hockey graduate assistant at Cabrini University while she was completing her graduate work and has been involved in field hockey most of her life working with various club and future programs. Dana teaches Middle School English, has been named Spotlight Teacher (2017) and Teacher of the Year (2019).


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About Kingsway’s Athletic Programs

Kingsway Regional High School competes in the Tri- County Conference Royal Division, which is composed of schools whose enrollments vary greatly for grades 9-12, operating under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). The mission of the Tri-County Conference is to provide opportunities for schools to work closely together, while promoting educational experiences for student athletes, which will benefit them throughout their lives. The Conference will foster an educationally sound environment that values good sportsmanship, fair play, and a wholesome relationship among participants, spectators, schools, and communities. You can learn more about Kingsway’s athletic program by visiting the website at


About the Kingsway Regional School District

Kingsway is a limited purpose regional school district that offers its students a rigorous academic program and a myriad of enrichment programs and services for students in grades 7 to 12. Kingsway Regional Middle School (Grades 7 to 8) and Kingsway Regional High School (Grades 9 to 12) cater to the individual needs of our students and promote opportunities for students to pursue their own areas of interest. Our population of approximately 2,800 students is multicultural and reflects the diversity of the communities it serves. Its mission is to ensure that all students receive rigorous and engaging instructional experiences that promote high levels of student achievement, including those with diverse learning needs. To learn more visit the District’s website at