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Donald W. Woodworth

Man with white hair and glasses in a suit and tie

Donald W. Woodworth

The principal at Oliver W. Winch Junior High School from 1967 to 1988, Donald W. Woodworth was respected for his inclusive leadership style during years of great growth in the South Glens Falls School District. A native of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Mr. Woodworth served in the U.S. Navy for four years, and was in the Naval Reserve for another four years. After graduating from Middlebury College with a degree in English, he and his wife of 58 years, Earla Taylor Woodworth, moved to South Glens Falls in 1959 when Mr. Woodworth joined the faculty at the Junior High. He served as president of the South Glens Falls Faculty Association during his stint as an English teacher, and was known for his teaching the poetry of the great American poet Robert Frost. While earning his master’s degree at Middlebury’s Breadloaf School of English, Mr. Woodworth studied under Mr. Frost, who lived in a log cabin in Ripton, Vermont.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Woodworth served as varsity golf coach from 1964 to 1966, passing on his love and passion for the game. In 1964, he won the Teacher Fellowship Award from the New York State Congress of PTAs.

Appointed Principal of OWWJHS in 1967, Mr. Woodworth earned his permanent certification in secondary school administration in 1968. Karen Azer, a former colleague who nominated him, called Mr. Woodworth “compassionate, kind, fair, understanding and respectful. It was these attributes that guided his leadership style.

“One of the big differences I noticed at the Junior High was the sense of community that was present in the building amongst all employees. I believe it was the only building in the district…where instructional as well as non-instructional staff members ate together in the faculty room. Additionally, the staff had monthly get-togethers in their homes; everyone came, no matter what their job was in the school. I have to believe this was a reflection of Don Woodworth, our principal.

“To this day, the retirees of the ‘old Junior High’ get together twice a year for lunch. We were such a close knit ‘family’ in those days and…that family atmosphere, where respect and support were the norm, was a testament to his leadership.”

An avid golfer, Mr. Woodworth continues to serve his community in retirement. He was a member of the Friends of Crandall Library for many years. Also active in the South Glens Falls United Methodist Church for more than 50 years, he has served as a lay speaker since 1962, and has sung in the church choir all that time as well.

He and Earla are the proud parents of three children, all of whom graduated from South High, and four grandchildren. Susan D. Woodworth and her husband, Rev. Bob Kersten, are United Methodist pastors serving four churches in the Catskills. Susan has two children, Gideon and Chelsea. Last month, Gideon and Liz Walker were married in Delhi, N.Y.

Gregory D. Woodworth is senior vice president and general counsel at National Life of Vermont. He and his wife, Carolyn, have two children, Sara — a 2012 summa cum laude graduate of Middlebury College — and Hilary, who is in her second year at Middlebury.

Gordon W.T. Woodworth is news editor of The Chronicle, and lives in South Glens Falls.