A sixth-grade teacher at an all-girls school in Texas is out of a job and fighting for her position back after district officials learned she worked in porn more than a decade ago.
Resa Woodward, 38, was removed from the classroom at the Young Women’s STEAM Academy in Dallas in November, after district officials received an anonymous tip regarding her work as an adult film actress, although a subsequent internal review cleared her of policy violations, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“I taught in an all-girls STEAM Academy that was all about empowerment for women,” Woodward told the newspaper. “The sad thing is that if these girls find out that I’m being punished for something that I did nearly 20 years ago and had no control of and fought to get out of, well, what does that say about empowerment?”
Woodward, who did not return messages seeking comment early Wednesday, told the paper that she was forced into pornography – saying “that involvement was not of my own choosing” – while living with an older man during a tough time financially. She eventually got herself out of the situation and finished school before becoming a teacher for the Dallas ISD, which serves roughly 160,000 students from pre-K through 12th grade.
But district officials got a tip in March claiming that Woodward worked in porn under the alias Robyn Foster, a name active in the business from 2001 and 2004, credited with 16 movies, according to a web-based adult film database cited by the Morning News.
The tipster, according to a report, was concerned because they didn’t want their child “exposed to things like this,” claiming Woodward was trying to deceive students and parents alike.
Dallas ISD spokesperson Robyn Harris told the newspaper Woodward was on administrative leave as of Tuesday. Messages seeking additional comment from Harris and the principal at the school where Woodward previously taught were not immediately returned early Wednesday.
Woodward initially denied the allegations and her involvement in the industry but then confirmed her previous work as an actress in numerous pornographic videos and photos, the school district’s director of professional standards, Kate Gorman Bauer, told the newspaper.
Woodward, according to the internal report, told district officials she stopped working in the business in 2001 and thought a man she knew was retaliating against her by informing her employers of her past.
“I’ve been trying to live my life as far away as possible from this stuff for a long time,” Woodward told district officials, adding that no students, colleagues or supervisors knew of her sordid past.
Bauer then closed the district’s investigation in March, ruling that Woodward’s “past participation” in pornography did not constitute a policy violation.
Woodward’s work as a well-known activist for the Libertarian Party of Texas, however, would lead to her being outed, according to the Dallas Morning News.
A woman identified as “Resa Willis” is listed as the party’s membership coordinatoron its webpage. Calls and messages seeking comment sent to Willis and other party officials were not immediately returned.
The photo of Willis on the party’s page is the same photo used in a Facebook profile for a “Resa Willis” that lists, among other previous jobs, her time as an instructor at STEM Academy and a writer for the Libertarian Republic.
Woodward told the Dallas Morning News that she wrote a post on Facebook last fall about a drunken driver that angered another man who claimed to be associated with the Libertarian Party in another state due to his beliefs toward police. That man then detailed her past on social media websites, Woodward said.
Woodward then notified district officials of the post and she was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 29.
“They told me they were pursuing termination because it became public,” she said.
Woodward, who said she’s worked in education for the past 15 years, joined the Dallas school district in 2012. She previously worked in the McKinney school district, state records show. She has filed an appeal with the Texas Education Agency, but a spokeswoman told the Dallas Morning News it was not filed properly and an independent hearing was not granted.