The Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame Association
Marie E. Williamson Inducted 1998 - Teacher/Administrator
Marie Williamson has devoted most of her life to Woodward High School. She did not attend Woodward. But from September, 1959, until August, 1993, Marie served Woodward as a teacher, dean, counselor, and assistant principal. Students and staff alike held Marie "dear to their Woodward hearts." They still do, and so do we, especially tonight, as Marie is inducted into the Woodward Hall of Fame.
Marie was born and raised in Weirton, West Virginia. She was high school valedictorian at Weir High School. She attended the College of Steubenville, Ohio and graduated in 1952 from West Liberty State College in West Virginia, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a 3.8 grade point average. Marie earned her Masters Degree in Education, with honors, in 1969. Her professional education certifications are in Permanent Teaching - Secondary: Biology and English; Permanent Counselor - Secondary; and Professional High School Principal - Permanent.
Marie's first teaching assignment was at Weirton Heights High School in West Virginia, as a science teacher. She then taught biology and science at schools in Leavittsburg, Ohio; Newton Falls, Ohio; and, Hammond, Indiana. Marie came to Woodward in 1959. Little did she know that she was embarking on a career that would span thirty-four years! Marie taught English from1959-1968. She was Dean of Women from 1968-1971, and a Counselor from 1971-1979. Her final assignment prior to her retirement was Assistant Principal of Instruction from 1979 to 1993.
In addition to Marie's formal assignments at Woodward, she worked with students participating in extra-curricular activities. Marie was an advisor for the SAGA, Bible Club, and Philalethean Literary Society. She was Quiz Bowl Coach and Props Manager for several "Extrav" productions.
Marie's numerous professional accomplishments, which benefited both Woodward and the community, include service as Community Coordinator and liaison person with the community for after-school activities; research projects in Guidance/Counseling; conducting group counseling sessions for Old West End youths entering high school using GATB; preparation of special course work prior to the opening of the skill centers; volunteering at Doehler-Jarvis for the Employment and Work Adjustment course at the University of Toledo; chairmanship of a committee on a Model for Quality Education; development of an in-service for teachers of reading; chairmanship of a committee to coordinate volunteers to distribute literature for the Toledo Public Schools levies; and revision of the Faculty Manual for Woodward Staff.
Whereas Marie's professional accomplishments are many, her students remember her as kind, with a subtle approach to encouraging them to do well. And Marie remembers many of her students too. When asked to describe important or humorous things that happened at Woodward, Marie recalls quite a few. For example, "Richard Knepper ( now Judge Richard Knepper) going silently out my first floor window during class while my back was turned. I know-what happened with the 'eyes in the back of my head' theory?" Marie also recalls stopping a fight between John Russell and Ladd Young in Wilson Park in the spring mud. "They even had mud in their ears. I marched them to the showers. I also remember the OSU/MSU rivalry every fall between Jim Bounds and Dave McMurray and The Gong Shows, when Mike Kedzierski got 'gonged' off the stage."
Throughout her years at Woodward, Marie developed many lasting friendships with staff members - Jim Wilusz, Dave McMurray, Dan Duvendack, Jim Henahan, Grace Kellermeier, Eileen Hudgin, Ted Szelagowski, Mildred Silverman, Richard Hoffman, Michelle Jacob, Carolyn Yenrick, Iris Szelagowski, Edie Scott, and Joann Scott. Staff members who had a profound affect on Marie were Virgil Sloan, "a great, quiet leader;" Sam Szor, "the most untiring teacher, who got more from every student in performances than one could imagine possible (just think of the great Extravs);" LeMaxie Glover, "art teacher unparalleled and true humanitarian;" and Bob Leonard, who "was and is the most charitable person I have ever met."
Marie cherishes memories of the Honor Society induction every year; our great football years with Chris Jacquillard playing, and our girls basketball state championship when Frannie Washington played. "But the greatest memory of all is the enduring camaraderie among teachers. We really liked and respected one another."
Marie's husband died in 1981, after 30 years of marriage. She has three children-Deborah, art teacher in Richmond, Kentucky; Bob, vice-president of Habitec Alarms; and, Becky, RN at Toledo Hospital in Intensive Care. Marie is also proud of her six grandchildren-Matt, Chris, Lauren, J.T., Jessica, and Brandon.
Just for fun, Marie likes quilting, reading, and cooking. She also enjoys "water vacations, preferably in Cozumel, but Florida or South Carolina will do." After Marie retired, she took her entire family on the Disney Cruise. "They keep asking when we're going again."
Marie was "overwhelmed and felt undeserving," when informed of her selection to the Woodward Hall of Fame. Those who have worked with Marie, or have been her students, know that this honor is long overdue. Congratulations, Marie!
Note from the author: "As the writer of these biographies, I seldom interject my personal comments. However, as a former English student of Mrs. Williamson's, I am honored to have written her biography. Now all I want to know is.. .do I get an 'A’??!!!"