Keep Sellman as name of school auditorium, crowd urges Woodside school board

Decision on name will be made in February

Two dozen people showed up at a Woodside Elementary School District governing board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 14, with a clear message to board members: Preserve the name on the building the school uses to stage its eighth-grade operettas in honor of the man who directed them for nearly four decades, George Sellman.

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27 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:34 pm

pogo is a registered user.

I'm not sure why the Superintendent and board feel they have to re-write history to cover their butts. Just 'fess up - you blew it. It's not a sin to apologize and move on.

It's clear that the board made a foolish and poorly considered decision. They should have said "it's become clear that our community feels strongly about the legacy of Mr. Sellman. We will honor their wishes and the building will continue to carry his name."

Case closed.

14 people like this
Posted by woodsider
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm

What's missing in this story is why there was even a proposal for the name change? Was there a (big) new donation that warranted the name change? Someone just not like the name Sellman? This article tells an incomplete story...

12 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:21 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

@POGO: No, it is not a sin. The Superintendent and the school board have sinned several times. Perhaps the Superintendent should be replaced as well as some of the school board????? Just a thought.

8 people like this
Posted by 40-year Resident
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jan 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm

>> district would be naming either the building's lobby or its stage after Mr. Sellman

Recommend to flip this and keep the building named for beloved George Sellman, then name the lobby or stage for a new donor or honoree (if that is the undeclared intention).

>> a name reflecting that diverse use might be appropriate

We Woodside old-timers all knew and loved George, and there was very strong community support for naming the "new" major building for him when it was constructed. He epitomized the generalist "diversified" schoolmaster of yore -- teacher/administrator/friend and advocate that is rarely matched today.

George's name on the building reminds of: "Si monumentum requiris, circumspice" = if you seek his monument, look around — epitaph of Sir Christopher Wren on St. Paul's, London, of which he was architect. Woodside School as we know it today is/was indeed a monument to George Selman's four-decade legacy.

10 people like this
Posted by WES_Alum_Parent
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 16, 2016 at 4:36 am

One thing that is missing from all of these terrific posts in support of keeping "Sellman" named "Sellman," is all of the years and years and years of students who have now had all of their assemblies, Cotillion classes, dances and operettas in "Sellman." For those of us lucky to know George Sellman personally it may mean something even more, but please do not undervalue the importance to all of the students now and since its original naming. All of this transcends any passing fancy of these short-time administrations who only come through Woodside for a fleeting moment. Let history stand.

9 people like this
Posted by 50 year Woodside Resident and WES alumni
a resident of Woodside School
on Jan 16, 2016 at 9:41 am

Interesting to note that of the 25 or so people who showed up, not one was in favor of a name change.

3 people like this
Posted by Kite Hill
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jan 16, 2016 at 11:02 am

Let the next mega donor have a new school wing named after them and leave the multi-purpose room to George. Don't let Woodside's history be dictated by a few who made their millions on the present.

1 person likes this
Posted by Richard Vaughan
a resident of Woodside School
on Jan 17, 2016 at 5:44 pm

For an action such as this to occur, there needs to be a vote by the school board. The next board meeting is Feb. 9. There is a time at the start of every meeting for public comment. If the community truly cares about this, they should show up and make their voices known.

2 people like this
Posted by Another Rez
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 17, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Another Rez is a registered user.

Fyi: The next meeting, on Tues., Feb. 9th, will be @3:30 in Room 39 at Woodside School.

How can I provide input into board decisions?
Attend the school board meetings. At the start of every meeting there is an open forum where you can address the board on any topic that is not on the agenda.
If a topic is on the agenda, the board always allocates time for public comment when that item is addressed.

You can also email the Board at:

Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Sellman Anderson
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 18, 2016 at 7:56 am

Hello to All,

Thank you for all of your comments. I'm not sure why it is even being discussed, but it is.

The topic is officially on the agenda for the February 9 board meeting. As someone stated above, the meetings usually start at 3:30. The agenda is usually posted a few days prior to the meeting.

If you can attend, please do!. The more people there the more powerful the message!

Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Sellman Anderson
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm

I wanted to remind everyone that has supported my father's name to remain on "The George Sellman" Auditorium that there is a board meeting coming up on Tuesday February 9th. The discussion regarding the auditorium name is on the agenda.

Please attend if you can!

Thank you so much!

5 people like this
Posted by Desi Gagianas Evangel
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2016 at 4:06 pm

As a former music teacher at Woodside Elementary School (1965 to 1982), I would like to state that I am dismayed that some members of the school board wish to consider changing the name of the Sellman Auditorium.

I had the pleasure to work with George for countless hours, days and months on the top-quality eighth grade operettas and community theatrical productions. George’s dedication, professionalism and community spirit were an inspiration to all.

I would ask the board to please not ignore Woodside’s warm and embracing sense of community and rich history. Continue to honor Mr. George Sellman and all he has done for this fine town and school by keeping his name on the new auditorium.

Desi Gagianas Evangel
Former music teacher at Woodside Elementary

Like this comment
Posted by Denise Terry
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 10, 2016 at 11:41 am

I am so pleased to hear that the newly rebuilt auditorium will retain its historical name "Sellman" in keeping with the tradition to honor Mr. Sellman. What I feel is missing in this age of social media and lack of "oral history" from generation to generation of Woodside families is an online record of Woodside's School traditions and historic legacy, as told briefly by you parents from decades ago.

We new Woodside parents (like myself, with elementary schoolers) do not have the benefit of knowing you, hearing your stories, and understanding the importance of these legacies.

I encourage you to record them via video so they can be shared for the benefit of all students, parents, teachers, current and future administrators.... Take an iPhone selfie video, post it online on the school website, maybe we should create a Woodside School informal Facebook group page where this information can be shared openly.

It is one thing to deliberately want to erase history because one does not honor or appreciate it (I don't think that was necessarily the intention of the rename, but I wasn't there?). It's quite another thing to just be ignorant of why decisions were made, or names assigned to honor someone, out of ignorance because there was no online record of why.

Let's make it simple for everyone moving forward to not make that mistake. I encourage legacy parents to help preserve that history and share it with the new parents coming after you!

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