After 40 years in education, Marylou Woody, principal at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary says it is time. Time to retire.
“I am leaving a perfect school,” Woody proclaimed. “A perfect staff and a perfectly wonderful school community.” Woody said she built on the foundation that was her when she arrived in 2004 and set out to focus on building leadership capacity in her teachers. “They are so busy and such hard workers. They have a lead role in so much here including professional development.”
Fourth grade teacher, Kam Lawrence, knows that is not the case and understands what Woody brings to the school each day with her energy. “Her work ethic is unmatched, which inspires all of her staff to always go the extra mile with her,” she said. “Marylou has worked tirelessly with the Cape staff, parents and students to build our school into what it is today – a safe, loving place that students eagerly come to, to learn.”
Woody began her career in education in Battle Ground, teaching first and third grades for 12 years. She then went on to LaCenter for her first principal job in 1989. While there, ever the teacher, she taught night classes at Washington State University Vancouver and then at City University. She came to CH-S in 2004.
“My guiding principle has always been to put students first,” Woody said. “When decisions need to be made the answer comes down to ‘What is best for students?’ I have seen a lot of success following that rule.”
Woody is also happy to see how the school and Washougal River community are coming together more and more. “We are relying on each other and we enjoy each other,” she said. “We have wonderful community partners such as the local American Legion, Washougal Mercantile, and the Auxiliary Woman’s Fire Department. And I cannot say enough about our amazing Boosters who do so much for everyone here.”
Asked how she hopes to be remembered by her students, Woody says for them to know she cares. “Students have to know you care about them,” she explained. Each trip down the hallway Woody says hello to every student and is proud that she knows all of their names. “It is very important to be that one more adult person in their life that they know cares about them. I hope they can look back and say I was always fair,” she added. “Fairness is so important to students.”
Woody’s plans after retirement include traveling to see grandchildren in Colorado and Virginia with her husband Michael who is semi-retired in his work in the logging industry. She is also looking forward to doing more gardening and getting to know her hometown of Yacolt, WA. “For all these years, with the hours necessary for me to be here, I would nearly always leave home in the dark and return in the dark,” she said.
More teaching may also be in her future as she considers pursuing work as a student teacher supervisor. “I can’t just call it quits totally. I love education,” she admits. “This is a great job. The number one best job is being a classroom teacher. Being a principal is the second best job.”
Recently Woody experienced a fun connection to a family who had just moved to the school. “She asked me if I was Mrs. Woody from Battle Ground. I recognized her and remembered her name. She had been in my first grade class,” she said laughing. “These kids grow up but those sweet faces don’t change.”