One of Washougal's favorite administrators is saying goodbye and she leaves a legacy of caring and connections for us to remember her by.
In college, Carol Boyden was working toward degrees in Psychology and Spanish. After she completed an internship working with severely handicapped children, she changed course a bit. "I thought, well, I might as well get my teaching credentials," said Boyden. Little did she know it would lead to a rewarding career in education spanning more than 46 years.
Her career in education began in Maryland in 1970. A special education teacher for 23 years, Boyden taught in Delaware, Colorado and California before moving to the Northwest. She worked in the Battle Ground School District for 13 years before taking an administrative position in Lincoln City, OR. She joined the Washougal School District in 1998. Currently principal of Excelsior and Associate Principal at Washougal High School, Boyden has worn many hats during her time in Washougal. She was formerly Special Services Director and Administrator of the district's Teaching American History Grant. "I've saved a few of the different name plates I have had over the years, just for fun," said Boyden.
With such a rich career, Boyden says there is no way she could narrow down her favorite memory, but a definite highlight has been helping students succeed, especially those who faced extraordinary hardships. "Watching a student who faced challenges during their high school career walk across the stage at graduation, and knowing they are there, in part because of something you did, is really a special moment," she said.
Boyden says she is amazed at the resilience of students who, faced with obstacles and a lack of outside help, can still succeed.
Boyden says she will miss the connections with kids the most. "It's a joy," she says, "to be able to hang out with students and to build a relationship to keep them accountable and working toward their goals."
Principal Aaron Hansen says Boyden's absence will be felt. "I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Carol for the last seven years at WHS," said Principal Aaron Hansen. "Carol's breadth of experience, her compassion for our students, and her commitment to the Washougal community will be missed, but the impact she has had on the students, staff and parents will last a lifetime. She has been a champion for students who struggle for reasons out of their control. She has provided support, guidance and resources for individuals who needed it most."
With Excelsior's new facility so near completion, it might be tempting for Boyden to stay, but she says that she really planned to retire last year, but didn't want to add to the list of changes students would face during the remodel. Now, she says, the time is right.
"I finally have enough credits to graduate and I can move on and do something different." Boyden, who enjoys flower arranging, crafting and painting in her spare time, says she's likely to pursue something "artsy."
Already a highly involved grandmother, (she coaches her grandson's soccer team!) Boyden says she will continue to spend time with daughters Kelly and Meredith and grandchildren Mitchell, Moore, and Sadie. "I'll take some time off and think about what I'd like to do next. I'll definitely spend more time at the beach."
Boyden will retire June 30, 2017.