Dick Woosencraft '69
2017 Recipient for Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
Dick Woosencraft was a champion for children. During his long, successful tenure as principal of Menomonee Falls High School, he ensured that every student had an advocate in his or her corner. His direct personal involvement made a lasting impression on students as they struggled to make important decisions about their future.
He met personally with every student in the school and made a point of having discussions with them during their senior year. Respected and beloved by his community, Woosencraft now has a street named after him in Menomonee Falls, which leads to the high school.
One of his former students submitted a letter of support for this nomination indicating, "He took the time to get know his students, which may be perceived as an obvious aspect of his job, but he went beyond that. He made time for all his students and created a culture of respect and sincerity in our high school. He provided guidance and always made time to go the extra mile for his students."
In his position, Woosencraft oversaw a student population of roughly 1,400 students a year and a staff of 120. He is known as an individual with a sincere, consistent and lasting concern and love for his students but someone who also made the time for staff as well. Not only did he know names, he also knew families, understood their challenges and worked to build a legacy of support for the community.
He established employment, job shadowing and service learning opportunities for students and was also the driving force in forming the Menomonee Falls Scholarship and Education Foundation in 1989. Today, that Foundation gives out in excess of $1 million dollars annually in scholarships to local students from money raised in the community. His vision of both his role and the high school extended beyond the campus; he saw the high school as an integral part of the larger community, and he was an active part of the fabric of community-service clubs, chamber of commerce, engagement in community activities, and other organizations.
Woosencraft was also an early advocate of the School-to-Work program in Menomonee Falls. The business community partnered with the high school to provide students with employment opportunities, real life financial workshops and direct classroom participation from business leaders. Woosencraft also established three "Walls of Fame" for Falls' graduates and alumni; a notable wall of recognition, a fine arts wall and an athletic wall of fame. At this time, nearly 100 alumni have been honored, and each person has a plaque in honor of his or her contributions and achievements.
Woosencraft continues to be a leader in the community after his retirement in 2004. He has been engaged academically at local universities, including Carroll, assisting student teachers and mentoring young educators. He is an active member of the Menomonee Falls Optimist Club, having served as president 1982-83 and the Falls Cable Access Corporation. From current school administrators to former students to various community members, Carroll received nearly 20 letters of support endorsing the nomination of Richard Woosencraft for the Distinguished Alumni Award. He graduated from Carroll in 1969 with a Bachelor's of Arts degree in history and physical education. He continues to live in Menomonee Falls with his wife Christine, who is also a Carroll graduate from the class of 1971. They have two adult sons: Kirk, who is a 1993 graduate of Menomonee Falls High School, and currently serves as assistant principal there; and David, who is a 1997 Menomonee Falls grad, and is currently an anesthesiologist in Chicago.