Teacher trades Columbia Blue for Big Red

PARKERSBURG – Close to 80 new teachers will be in the classrooms in Wood County schools to greet students this week.

Dave Woody, the new social studies teacher at Parkersburg High School, is among them. While new to Wood County public schools, he’s a veteran of education.

Woody spent 29 years teaching social studies at Parkersburg Catholic.

Thursday, the 59-year-old will greet students at Parkersburg High, teaching history and government.

Woody describes himself as an analytical man and said there are 100 reasons he left the comfortable confines of Catholic for Parkersburg High.

“Any explanation I give is going to sound insufficient,” he said. “Some people my age want to coast, take it easy. I’m looking for a new challenge.

“You teach the same subject for many years it tends to wear you down. I’m looking for new things. I like to see how students here respond to my way of teaching.”

Woody saw the opening at Parkersburg High and applied.

“I’ve spent no considerable time in this building since I graduated in 1972,” he said.

The job offered Woody a new challenge at his old school, working for Principal Pam Goots, whose children he taught at Catholic.

“I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else,” he said, not even Parkersburg South, where his wife Cynthia works as a guidance counselor.

At Parkersburg High, he’ll be teaching government and politics, and contemporary 20th and 21st century history to juniors and seniors. He’s eager to start the year.

“I am intrigued by the possibilities and what students will bring to class,” he said.

Goots said she’s thrilled to have such a first-year talent.

“Dave has a lot of experience and is an engaging teacher,” she said. “We are fortunate to get someone with his experience.”

For the last few weeks, Woody’s been undergoing orientation and meetings with administrators. Thursday, students report.

“It’s the best time, when students get into class,” he said. “It’s my favorite setting; you and students dealing with what they need to learn.

“All the other stuff is secondary.”

Woody remembered, once having a particularly tough year at Catholic, wondering if he was cut out to teach. Standing in the office at Catholic, it occurred to him his five-year career as a teacher was the longest he’d ever held a job.

“I made the decision to stick with it,” he said.

Almost 25 years later most of Woody’s Facebook friends are former students. It’s strange, he said, seeing former students now celebrating their 40th birthdays.

However, he has no plans to stop teaching. He and his wife bought a house in Morgantown, but Woody said he’s not the retiring type.

He can envision himself teaching another 15 years,

“I’ll stick with it as long as I get enjoyment out of it.”