Danielson – Linda J. Stedman, beloved Woodstock Academy teacher, friend, cat-lover, and former investment banker, passed in the early hours of September 26, 2015 after waging a battle with cancer. Born in Vermont on September 18, 1946, she is survived by her brother Kenneth A. Stedman of Wolfeboro Falls, NH; her best friend of 47 years, Emily Meschter, of New York, NY; and a slew of devoted friends. Her dear mother, Olive (Riley) Stedman and her father Winwood “Steady” Stedman predeceased her.
Linda was brilliant, and her exceptional intelligence, quest for knowledge, dedication to education, perseverance, and unparalleled independence made her memorable and irreplaceable. Linda spent her early career as an investment banker, becoming a full partner at Drexel Burnham.
Teaching was her true calling, however, and in 1991 Linda left Wall Street, having blazed a trail for other women. After being given credit for a year at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, life experiences, and self-study, Linda was awarded a diploma from Empire College in New York, NY. She then earned her Master’s in Education at Harvard, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After a year of teaching in Massachusetts, Linda took a position teaching history at Woodstock Academy in 1994.
She will be long remembered by the more than 2,000 students who were fortunate enough to sit in her classroom over the course of her over-twenty years at the Academy. Linda’s classes were famous for their rigor, and she encouraged students to achieve at levels they may not always have believed themselves capable of attaining. Students who survived her AP US history “boot camp,” were said to have been “Stedmanized,” able to breeze through later classes with the strong work ethic and analytical skills she inculcated in them. She also passed on a love of learning, of books, and intellectual conversation. In the words of one of her students, “Ms. Stedman taught me more than history, she taught me how to think.”
Linda will also be missed by her colleagues and friends at Woodstock Academy. Her no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is attitude, which could never quite camouflage her tender heart, endeared her to so many. She was mentor and friend to countless teachers and inspired them to challenge students and themselves to be the best teachers they could. She will be missed.
A celebration of Linda J. Stedman’s life will take place in the commons at Woodstock Academy on October 17th at 2 p.m. All are welcome to attend and share stories of Linda’s acerbic wit, wicked humor, and keen intellect.