The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

For the Star 

Woody Woodgate named new principal of Valdez High School

Board, committees and the public were involved in two days of interviews


A college teacher is going back to high school.

Woody Woodgate - the regional director of adult basic education at Prince William Sound College - will be the new principal at Valdez High School.

The news came last week when the board of education hired Woodgate from a pool of six candidates who were interviewed by the board and introduced to the public during a meet and greet at the high school.

Overall, 25 applicants applied for the position. Only six candidates were selected for two days of interviews. The process included interviews with three committees and the meet-and-greet a week ago, Friday. A follow-up one-on-one interview with superintendent Jim Nygaard finished the process.

Three of the candidates, including Woodgate, are from Valdez. Two of them were from other parts of Alaska. Only one candidate was from out-of state.

Woodgate's other duties at the college included secondary outreach with the Valdez City School District. In his 15 years in K-12, he has taught in rural Alaska, including the Iditarod Area School District. Woodgate also spent three years in with the Alaska Department of Education in Juneau where he managed a teacher preparation program. The Texas native has Bachelor's from University of Alaska-Fairbanks and graduate degrees from University of Alaska-Anchorage and University of Alaska Southeast.

Tony Gorman photo

Woody Woodgate of Valdez - the new VHS principal - chats with school board member Dr. Kathy Todd.

Tim Burns and Jason Williams, both currently working in the Valdez school district, were also strong candidates to replace Rod Schug, the outgoing principal of VHS.

Woodgate said one of his goals would be to continue working with staff, shareholders, and community members to continue to improve the school. Now, he will get that opportunity to accomplish those goals.

Nygaard said that the district is fortunate to hire Woodgate to the new position.

"We were fortunate to have Woody available," Nygaard said. "Several attributes, one being his connection with the Department of Education, the College, and his potential longevity all stack well in his favor."

Woodgate will be paid annual salary of $104,830.


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