Blessed. That's just one of the many words people use when trying to describe what it's like to have worked with David Woodall, Morenci Unified School District superintendent over the years.
Woodall, a New Mexico native, worked for MUSD for 27 years before moving to Benson for awhile and coming back in 2014. The son of a carpenter and school bus driver, Woodall said he studied a few things in college before settling on education. He has a bachelor's degree in history/education and a master's in school administration and leadership, both from New Mexico State University - Las Cruces and a doctorate from Northern Arizona University in school leadership.
His love of education must've worn off. His son, Casey, is a teacher and Morenci High's wrestling coach and his daughter, Chelsea, is an assistant principal at Metcalf Elementary.
"Next to parents, I feel as educators we have the greatest opportunity to exert a positive influence in the direction of student lives. We have the opportunity to emphasize the importance of learning, but also being a good person, citizen, husband, father, mother, etc.," Woodall said. "This is the foundation of our CATS Code in Morenci which focuses on the timeless values of demonstrating respect, caring about each other and showing pride and perseverance. This provides us with a chance we don't want to miss."
Woodall said he sometimes forgets how powerful teachers can be, but he's had students come back and tell him how something he said 15, 20 years ago influenced them.
MHS culinary teacher Sherry Carbajal had Woodall for history and now she works for him, something she calls "really neat."
"He's just such a big part of our community and he really wants to do what's best for the school and the kids," Carbajal said. "He's everywhere and we all appreciate that very much. I was very excited when he came back. We're lucky to have him."
Morenci High Principal Don Goodman grew up in Morenci and taught at MHS in 2019 and in the ‘90s. He and his wife left Morenci for the Springerville area to be closer to her parents, but always dreamed of coming back to work with Woodall.
"He's just a good man who cares about people. He's always looking for ways to recognize people, he's always been affirming like that," Goodman said. ""If you can't get along with him, then you can't get along with anyone, he's an amazing guy."
Goodman said Woodall is "always on the top of his game."
Tom Powers, who retired last year as Greenlee County Schools Superintendent, has known the Woodall family for 40 years. He described him as an incredibly dedicated man who is often walking his campuses at 6:30 a.m. to make sure everything is in good shape before students and teachers arrive. He has also worked well with the state over the years making sure the district got the needed funding for new roofs, air conditioners, plumbing and other high dollar expenses.
"Dave's one of those kinds that if you find somebody that cares anymore than him, I'd like to meet him," Powers said.
Duncan Unified School District Superintendent Eldon Merrill said he's leaned on Woodall many times over the years.
"If I have a question, I know I'm going to get a straight and honest answer," Merrell said. "When you call him and have a question, you're going to get some pretty good advice."
Metcalf Elementary School Principal Jennifer Morales also described Woodall as "amazing."
When COVID-19 hit last year, Morales said he made sure no one panicked. She said he listens, processes and then responds no matter the situation.
"He values relationships and he has a passion for education and to make a difference in the lives of not only his students, but his staff as well," Morales said. "He just has a genuine love for Morenci School District. I could go on and on and on. I'm blessed to work with him."