WCS - Woodstock Country School: A History of Institutional Denial
WCS – Woodstock Country School: A History of Institutional Denial by William Boardman is a detailed and insightful history of one of the most exciting, successful and esteemed experiments in American education.
The Woodstock Country School rose on the wave of American energy and idealism following World War II. It existed from 1945 to 1980, and if not for a series of fatal missteps, it might still be thriving now.
This remarkable history, written by an alumnus and former teacher at the school, reads like a novel, as dozens of characters struggle first to build the school, then to save it. Despite their good intentions, the 35-year effort foundered on their frailties, irresponsibilities, and a fatally imperfect understanding of what made the school so magical for so many.
"You could call it a Rorschach history," says Boardman, who attended WCS from 1952 to 1956 and taught there from 1971 to 1976, "or maybe a collage, since there are hundreds of voices telling the story, each from his or her own perspective, yet there is a remarkable shared perspective of an essentially ineffable institution."
WCS tells the story of the school's rise and flourishing, even as it relied on charismatic headmaster David Bailey, whose charisma and dominance shaped the institutional denial that proved too strong to allow the school to survive.