Zachary Goodyear, a resident of Washington, Conn., died on Nov. 13. Born in Walla Walla, Wash., in 1945, to Mary Robins Goodyear and Dr. Stephen Goodyear while his father was stationed at the medical base there during World War II, Zack grew up in Darien, Conn. He attended Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., and divided his extracurricular time there among musical, political, and athletic activities, earning letters in tennis and squash.
A 1969 graduate of New York University with a major in politics and a minor in English, he began teaching at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. He built a house in Washington in 1973, to which he retired in June. Also in 1969, he married Julie Clark, daughter of Hollis and Ted Clark, and granddaughter of Verna and Walter Logan, longtime Washington, Conn. residents.
Zack's 44-year career at Choate influenced virtually every area of school life. At the Year End ceremony last June celebrating Zack's retirement, a former dean of faculty said, "Zack embodies the title 'educator' in its broadest definition … a teacher who fully embraced the idea and ideals of teaching in a residential school."
Among the many positions Zack held at Choate were director of summer programs, where he doubled the size and funding for the Connecticut Scholars Program, which provided summer program experiences in math and science for talented Connecticut public high school students selected from urban school districts in the state; and adviser to the Icahn Scholars Program, where he guided scores of senior Icahn Scholars through the college application process, and assisted in placing them in some of the most competitive colleges in the country. As form dean, he balanced the virtues of respect and adherence to the rules with compassion and understanding of the missteps that adolescents often make.
His real passion, however, was the classroom, especially his two signature courses American Political Institutions and Effecting Political Change. Generations of Choate students queried, debated, and learned during his field trips to Washington, D.C., and the Model Congress sessions he ran on campus. For many, his courses were foundational to careers in government service. A more recent dean of faculty wrote, "His greatness encouraged those around him to think about who they were and what they could become. He was an educator in the truest sense of the word, inspiring his students by drawing out of them their very best and giving them faith in their own ability and potential."
For his distinguished teaching he was awarded the Hubert S. Packard Endowed Faculty Chair in 1994.
During presidential election years, Zack was the civic conscience of his community, enlisting student volunteers to support the candidates of their choice and cajoling abstainers to go to the polls. For his 2008 sabbatical, he volunteered for the Obama campaign in Youngstown, Ohio, during "golden week": the five days that represented the final week of voter registration and the first week of Ohio's early voting. A member of the Washington Democratic Town Committee, he worked on a local Obama fundraiser in 2008 and another fund-raiser in 2012 that brought Vice-President Biden to Kent.
For the past 16 years, Zack advised Choate's school newspaper-The News-during which time he sought to instill in the News masthead and its reporters the highest standards of journalism. Over the years of his stewardship, Choate's student publication became a model for its peers and many masthead members have gone on to similar positions at their college newspapers and from there into careers in journalism.
Zack leaves behind his wife of 44 years, Julie Clark Goodyear, his two sons, Justin Goodyear and Trevor Goodyear, two daughters-in-law, three grandchildren and a fourth on the way, his brother Talbot Goodyear, sisters Jessica Goodyear and Abigail Allgood, and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Manny and Kenyon Clark of Washington.
A service in celebration of Zack's life will be held at Choate on Jan. 5.
Published in Litchfield County Times on Nov. 23, 2013