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Published on May 23rd, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Dr. Karen Woodward named administrator of the year

LEXINGTON, S.C. — Lexington County School District One congratulates former Lexington One Superintendent Karen C. Woodward, Ed.D., who received the Lexington County School District One Educational Foundation 2016 Joseph M. Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award in recognition of her visionary and compassionate leadership as superintendent.

Educational Foundation Executive Director Connie McFarland and Joseph M. Bedenbaugh, the retired administrator for whom the award is named, presented the award to Woodward during a Lexington One Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, May 17. Woodward served as Lexington One superintendent for 16 years.

“Tonight’s honoree is genuine, inviting and nurturing,” McFarland said. “She exemplifies through action and example exceptional commitment to ensuring that children and learning are one.”

The Educational Foundation established the award in 2005 in order to recognize an administrator with Lexington One who exhibits outstanding leadership skills and compassion toward students, who works well with staff, students and parents and who considers the educational development of students a primary goal. Bedenbaugh, the award’s namesake, worked for 36 years in Lexington One, serving as a seventh-grade math teacher, principal and assistant superintendent before he retired in 1983.

River Bluff High School Senior Merrit Jones wrote in a letter nominating Woodward for the award that Woodward served as a role model for her and other students. Jones worked with Woodward during the current school year as a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.

“In each meeting, she challenged us to think both critically and introspectively about leadership,” Jones wrote. “I now view Dr. Woodward not only as a remarkable superintendent and role model, but, more personally, as a trailblazer for women in policy and administration. She has created a culture of integrity and commitment to students, a culture that fosters change.”

Woodward led Lexington One during a time of unprecedented national and state change in education. She dealt with issues that included rapid student growth and technology infusion. The bold move to make World Language a part of the core instructional program in middle schools along with English, mathematics, science and social studies for all students is now a well-established and nationally recognized initiative.

In Lexington One Board of Trustees Chair Debra Knight’s letter nominating Woodward for the award, Knight wrote that Woodward achieved many accomplishments by focusing on advocacy for students and service to the community.

“Known for being forward-thinking, Karen has implemented a culture that includes high expectations and personalized learning with technology for students of all abilities and a world language initiative,” Knight wrote. “Her vision has included redesigning learning in the classroom in order to build skills needed in the 21st century job market.”

Lexington One thrived because of Woodward’s innate ability to think creatively and strategically about long-term opportunities in the school system, in higher education and in blooming career paths. Woodward demonstrated an ability to anticipate societal and educational changes and to embrace technology on a student-centric basis.

Lexington Middle School Principal Ryan Pool wrote in his letter of nomination that Woodward enabled him to understand the importance of being a lifelong learner, courageous leader and true statesman.

“Although she has risen to the top of her profession and received numerous accolades for her work, she continues to vigorously expand her knowledge and broaden her understanding in an effort to continue to provide better opportunities for students,” Pool wrote. “Her continuous efforts to investigate, collect and analyze information that will help children succeed place her among the most elite educators in our nation.”

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