I believe that I have called Woodrow every possible permutation of the word wood. He has been Woodbine, Driftwood, Wood Chips, Balsa Wood and on and on. I have not called him what he needs to be called and this a great person.
I have known Woody for a very long time. We very rarely get together in a social sense, except for two times a year. Those times are a Christmas dinner with two other friends at PARSS and a lunch with the wife of a dear departed friend. Other than a wedding or some other life cycle event, we do not have contact with Woody and his wife Sam.
Woody has devoted almost all of his adult life to public education. He did spend some time as a barber and truck driver. I commune with Woody when we are working with rural school districts in Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS). He is dedicated to the schools and the children in them.
He is quick to point out that the logo of PARSS is Quality Education for ALL children in Pennsylvania. Woody was once an elementary principal, a business manager of the school district and a school superintendent. As with many current school boards, Woody’s was great for a long while until new people came on and decided that the district needed a new person. No real reason for the change, just want someone new.
Woody, who had devoted his life and energies to the district, was distraught. He had done everything correctly- curriculum, teacher evaluations, finances and so on. He was going to be a basket case, if he did not leave, or retire soon. I worked hard to convince him to retire and he eventually did. He then went on the become a fixture in the PARSS organization.
From my perspective, Woody is the kind of person that you want on your side during an educational fracas with those who are trying to destroy it. His knowledge and historical memory make him a special person in the pantheon of educators in PA. He is a comfortable in very rural places, as he is in city and suburban places.
He holds his own with legislators and can speak to them in their own language. Whether it is about NASCAR or state board regulations, Woody is there. He travels the entire country in his “motor pig” which he shares with his wife and their two dogs.
He is a Penn State alumnus and is devoted to them, especially during the football season. Woody was awarded his doctorate from P.S.U. And has some connections there. He also has connections with many superintendents across the state. His expertise in school funding, finance and taxation make him a perfect consultant to those who are in need of wise counsel.
I travel with Woody frequently. I therefore hear his rants about how children are being short changed. Whether the subject is charter schools, or the kids in Philly, or Susquehanna County, they are all his concern. Maybe one of these days, we will elect a Governor who shares Woody’s views. Wouldn’t that be a stitch?

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