2 McCallie Department Chairs Announce Retirement

Monday, January 21, 2013
Mrs. Cissy May began her McCallie career in 1983, and Dr. Michael Woodward in 1987. Both have received multiple honors recognizing their teaching acumen, from within the McCallie community and beyond.
Mrs. Cissy May began her McCallie career in 1983, and Dr. Michael Woodward in 1987. Both have received multiple honors recognizing their teaching acumen, from within the McCallie community and beyond.

Cissy May and Dr. Michael Woodward, chairs for McCallie’s Upper School science and history, respectively, have announced their intentions to retire at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Between them, they have served McCallie for more than 55 years. 

Mrs. May began her McCallie career as a chemistry teacher in 1983 and has served as the Science Department chair the past two years. She has received numerous awards in her career, including selection as Chemistry Teacher of the Year by the Chattanooga Chapter of the American Chemical Society (1995). She was named a McCallie Faculty Fellow in 2009 and has been honored with two Faculty Recognition Awards. During her career, she also served as director of the faculty mentor program and also as an advisor for the National Honor Society and the Science Olympiad.

Mrs. May's classes are well-known for her use of demonstrations to engage students as they study the unique world of chemistry around them.

“The only thing that surpasses her knowledge of chemistry is her incredible patience with her students and the way boys best learn,” said Mr. Sholl. “Cissy has an innate ability to connect with boys wherever they are in their understanding of the subject.”

Dr. Woodward was named the inaugural recipient of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Chair of American History in 1987 and has served as chair of the history department since 1995. He is a two-time recipient of the Keo-Kio Distinguished Teacher Award and was named a Faculty Fellow in 2009. 

“He has both defined the position and has set an extremely high bar by his talent and his devotion to his students. He is a master teacher and his intellectual and pedagogical presence will be missed,” said Kenny Sholl, Associate Headmaster and Upper School Head.

Highlights from a lengthy and all-positive Facebook thread from alumni about Dr. Woodward include: 

“It is amazing how many people rank Woodward as their best teacher ever. Add my name to the list. I had one in college who came close, but not quite.” 

“He was the best teacher I ever had, save a couple others in elementary school. Would never accept a jot less than the very best I had to give, and I thank him for that.” 

“I credit him for my political awakening, which led to some mischief and then stint as producer for a political talk show.” 

“I was never big on history/government... loved Woodward. He was awesome. AP Government was one of my fav classes at McCallie.”

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