History of Woodward Middle School
Woodward Middle School opened in December of 1994 as a 6th - 8th grades middle school. A community-wide grand opening celebration was held on Saturday, November 5th, 1994 featuring a dedication ceremony, barbecue, tours and entertainment. The first principal was Jerry McLaughlin. Grade levels were reconfigured with increasing student enrollment at the elementary and middle school levels, and Woodward Middle School changed to a grades 7-8 school when Sakai Intermediate opened as a grades 5-6 school in 2000.
The school was named after Walt & Milly Woodward, publishers and owners of the Bainbridge Review from 1941 to 1988. Walt Woodward was the only publisher on the west coast to take a consistent stand against the internment of the Japanese during World War II. His courage and dedication to fair and accurate reporting during and beyond this challenging time on Bainbridge Island remains an inspiration to Woodward Middle School staff and students. Milly died in 1989 after a difficult struggle with Parkinson's disease. Walt died in 2001. At his memorial service, held at Woodward Middle School, former editor of the review in the 1990's, Suzanne Downing, is quoted saying "Walt and Milly both believed in community and knew that a newspaper is a connector that ties the community together." Daughter Mary Woodward adds "It was a fitting farewell to a couple whose lives had been dedicated to honest reporting and who always strove to speak the truth, unafraid, whether it be on a national issue or something purely local."
In 2004, Woodward received the National Blue Ribbon Award from the US Department of Education. This recognizes academically superior schools and honors them as "national models of excellence." Woodward was the only middle school in the state to receive this award and one of only 25 nationwide. Woodward was also recognized in 2010 and again in 2011 with the Washington Achievement Award as a top-performing school in the state of Washington.