Woodall lays out ECISD goalsSchool board president cites personal evolution as result of service

Doyle Wayne Woodall ran for the Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees in 2004 to solve one problem.
But as he persevered on the panel, he found a big school district is confronted by multitudinous issues and he had to deal with people whose ideas were drastically different from his.
Woodall was rebuffed 6-1 in his effort to keep corporal punishment, or spanking, in ECISD three years ago and he’s been surprised to find that his best friend on the board is Dr. Donna Smith, an Odessa College English professor with whom he often contends.
“I’m able to sit down with people I disagree with and have a constructive conversation,” he said. “Before I was on the board, I couldn’t do that. Donna is extremely liberal and I’m extremely conservative, but I know if she and I come to a mutual agreement it will probably be best for the students.
“My desire is to sit down and visit and try to arrive at conclusions.”
Woodall is a 64-year-old native Odessan who graduated in 1972 from Odessa High School, where he sang in the choir, and attended OC for two years before working as a welder at a series of companies and starting his own firm, H&W Fluid End Repair, in 1993. He and his wife Rita, a retired ECISD teacher, have two children, six grandchildren and a great-grandchild. He has two brothers and a sister.
For the Woodalls’ 40th anniversary in 2014, he recorded a version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” that his children put on YouTube under “doyle woodall anniversary.”
He first ran for the school board because the administration was moving his wife to a middle school after she’d worked at OHS for 14 years. “It made me mad,” he said.
“You need to treat the teachers with dignity and respect and the administration was not. I never dreamed I’d win. I wasn’t even real sure I wanted to. Then I thought, oh my goodness, what have I got into?”
But as he served from 2004-08 and again since 2013, he took his responsibility with increasing seriousness, attending workshops and studying privately.
Woodall was able to keep his wife where she was, watched her start the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program and seven years later in ‘14 saw OHS gain national recognition. “The day they announced it was one of the happiest days of Rita’s life,” he said.
“She had worked 14 hours a day seven days a week. Only about 30 people in the world have taken a school that size and turned it into a national demonstration school.”
Established with the help of attorney Wade Hudman, whom Woodall bought out in 2001, H&W Fluid End Repair is a specialized business in which he installs and repairs the duplex, or double piston, pumps that send oilfield mud down the hole when wells are being drilled.
Woodall has been semi-retired since those pumps have been largely replaced in recent years by high pressure triplex pumps. “I’ve worked in Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas,” he said.
“I once spent 54 hours on a job.”
Smith said Woodall “cultivates a good old boy persona and gets a kick out of it when people underestimate him.
“Doyle is an interesting guy,” she said. “Once you get to know him, he is not what you expect. He’s analytical and savvy. He listens to people’s concerns, takes them to heart and tries to do something about them. It is important to him that people be treated fairly and with compassion and I respect that about him. He is a strong advocate of teachers and kids.”
Smith enjoys debating Woodall because they often get a good result. “We can start talking about something and be on opposite sides and he will try hard to understand where I’m coming from,” she said.
“Sometimes I will even be able to convince him I’m right. It doesn’t make any difference when we don’t agree. We’re still friends and still respect each other.”
Bonnie Stubbs, who spent 33 years as an aide, clerk and school secretary at San Jacinto Elementary School, has volunteered in each of Woodall’s election campaigns. “I admire him,” she said.
“He is a good, honest man who has the kids’ and parents’ welfare at heart and not the administration’s. He goes to all the workshops and does everything he can to do his job in the best way possible.”
Praising Rita Woodall and the AVID program because it encourages students whose family members haven’t gone to college to go, Stubbs said her background is a key to her relationship with the board’s leader. “I know what Doyle is talking about when he says something,” she said.
However, Woodall said that when he and Stubbs disagree, she sometimes tells him to “shut up” and he is not offended because he is accustomed to her plain-spokenness.
Having usually done more than the state’s annual requirement of eight hours of continuing education, Woodall said one of his most rewarding classes was one he began with great impatience. “It was a workshop in Dallas with a guy from North Carolina,” he said.
“It was so mind-numbingly boring that I thought, somebody give me a gun so I can shoot myself! But with the information and data, it became fascinating and ended up being one of the best days I ever spent. He said the more time the board spends talking about curriculum and educating the kids, what goes on in the classroom, the better the school district becomes.
“The other trustees and I had never heard that and it made a difference in our being able to work together. The little squabbles and bickering ended. It’s my goal for every kid to graduate with a college associate’s degree or a professional or vocational license so they can have something to do and be successful.”
Woodall’s lonely campaign to keep corporal punishment left him more convinced he was right. “It doesn’t need to be the only tool in your toolbox, but it needs to be there,” he said.
“It gets your attention. It got mine when I got busted. I might get busted the next day for something else, but I didn’t get busted for the same thing anymore. If you’ve never left a red welt on your kid’s butt, you are probably not a very good parent.
“You can’t have a different recipe for every kid. There have to be boundaries for a school to work.”
Asked why the board replaced Superintendent Tom Crowe with interim Superintendent Jim Nelson last September, Woodall first praised Crowe by saying he “took us down from 22 schools on improvement required status to eight.
“But we were in a place where things had gotten a little stagnant,” he said. “Mr. Nelson (a former Texas Education Agency commissioner) had a multitude of contacts and resources and we felt like he could jumpstart this district. We wanted someone with his reputation to come into the district for eight or nine months, give us a good kick in the pants and get us out of not heading in the right direction.
“We thought if anyone could talk to the TEA and get a straight answer, it would be him. We needed all the clarity we could get.”
Woodall’s favorite pastime is reading educational journals and texts and the Bible. He and his wife are members of Odessa Christian Faith Center.