Remembering Glenn Hightower

Glenn Hightower — a longtime Westport Public Schools administrator and community volunteer — died over New Year’s weekend. He was 76.

Glenn Hightower

Glenn Hightower

Hightower came from Oklahoma, as principal of Bedford Junior High School. In his several decades in the district, he also served as director of continuing education.

He spent an enormous amount of time in activities ranging from Little League softball to the United Methodist Church.

He and his wife Beverly — who died in 2015, at 72 — raised 3 daughters here: Holly, Julie and Heather.

A full obituary, and information on services, will follow soon.

37 responses to “Remembering Glenn Hightower

  1. Patrick Eastin

    I remember Mr. Hightower well as principal at Bedford Junior High. Rest in peace sir.

  2. Diane Silfen

    He was a truly wonderful man who cared about all his students.

  3. Frannie Southworth

    Mr. Hightower was a very kind man. Always so helpful. I am sad to hear of his passing. Condolences to his family.
    The Southworths

  4. Abby L Moser

    He was a wonderful principal. I was at BJHS 72-74 while he tolerated the hippie teachers and students. He allowed us to have great freedom with clubs. Mr Puterbaugh and Fred Bump ran an outstanding Hiking Club where we spent several weekends over the years hiking the Appalachian Trails. Those were fantastic timesGlen Hightower hired well making Bedford an outstanding Jr H.S. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  5. During my time at Bedford Junior High I spent a fair amount of time with Dr. Hightower. Some of it was even unrelated to getting in trouble. That was when school administrators had the ability to operate under their own discretion and not rely on the “punishment graph” currently used that removes all common sense and responsibility from principals, deans, etc. Between Dr. Hightower and Vice Principal Ed Bludnicki, they had an effective “Bad cop, Good cop” combination that served them well. Dr. Hightower was always fair and it was clear that he was very dedicated to the students and staff.

    • I was in trouble every time I visited with Dr. Hightower, but you are right Tony,he was always fair and a great guy. He will be missed.

  6. Michael Calise

    Glenn Hightower was absolutely the best! A dedicated teacher and administrator. Sad news for Westport.

  7. Glen was a neighbor, friend, coach, family man and gentle soul. He was a principled Principal who always tried to do whatever was best for his students and his school. Glen and Beverly hosted an annual Christmas party in their home- Bev’s baking and Glen’s huge smile were all anyone needed to have a great time.

    Our heartfelt condolences to daughters- Holly, Julie and Heather.

    Linda and Steve Stein

  8. He was the best. Sincere condolences to his family. And, really, all of us too.

  9. I remember Dr. Hightower leading our youth group outings at Christ and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. He was a fine man.

  10. John S Davidson

    Sad news a wonderful man. He always mad getting in trouble fun

  11. Maria Vailakis-Wippick

    Dr. Hightower coached my son in PAL football. One of his daughters(Heather or Holly??) was a counselor at the YMCA for my little Indian Guide and Princess. Dr Hightower is the reason I work at Staples High School. He was also the first person to hire me as a yoga instructor back in 2003 when he was the Continuing Education director. Most recently, he was a chair yoga student of mine at the Senior Center. I echo all the sentiments expressed here. He was a kind, gentle, caring, soft spoken man. I will miss his smile and his entire being. May you rest in peace Dr. Hightower and may your memory live for eternity in the hearts of your beautiful daughters and family.

  12. Molly Velky Damico

    I echo Maria’s words above – Glenn was such a wonderful, kind, gentle soul. A true family man in every sense of the word. I was lucky enough to have started my school secretary “career” and spent so many years at Bedford with him. He will be missed…My heart goes out to Holly, Julie and Heather and their families. Some comfort though that he is with Bev again….

  13. Chip Stephens - Staples 73

    Dr Hightower came to Westport, from Pennsylvania, back at a time where no one was reigning in bullies or poor teachers and he took Bedford Jr HS by storm as the new sheriff. It was a time where toughs ruled the hallways and it was nightmare for those underclass kids or anyone that wouldn’t stand up to the bullies. Doc Hightower made his presence known with a firm direction for his students but such a large kind smile. He was way ahead of his time in addressing harassment and bullying. I was taught by my mom that he was to be called DOCTOR Hightower and not Mr Hightower, he commanded respect and he got it and deserved it.
    Later in life he was a youth leader with his wife Bev at Christ and Holy Trinity and where he once again impressed his kindness and strength on my friends and me.
    Later in life he served my children at Bedford as their principal and was loved and respected by them too. Few know about the incident there at that time when a student brought a flare gun to school to shoot President Clinton when he visited Westport and his motorcade passed the kids on riverside ave. Dr Hightower got a tip and managed to have the student detained and more importantly managed the spin keeping Westport, the students, the family involved, and the possible major side show low key almost invisible. It was taken care of and that was that.
    Dr Hightower remained a real mentor friend after all that, to me, my children and to thousands of students, parents and Westporters. I will miss Dr Hightower and his big Cheshire cat grin, his kindness and strength.
    God speed Dr Glenn Hightower, you are with Beverly once again, Thank you for being.

  14. Prill Plantinga Boyle '72

    Let me echo everything said here. When I was a long-term substitute at BMS in the mid-90’s, Glenn was thoroughly encouraging of my efforts in the classroom and gave me just the right amount of guidance. I saw him less than six weeks ago at my Pilates class at the Senior Center. I can’t believe he’s gone. He will be missed by so many in this community. My condolences to his family.

  15. He was a remarkable man. After leaving Bedford in ’83 I ran into him at one of his girls swim meets many years later. I went to introduce myself and say hello and he interrupted me telling me the introduction wasn’t necessary and over the course of our conversation it was very apparent that he did know exactly who I was.

    RIP Dr. Hightower and deepest condolences to the family.

  16. Sharon Paulsen

    Wow, very sorry to hear this.

    Hightower – he could have made for an amazing POTUS for our country! Seriously! 😊

    I remember all the Bedford names/leaders of the groups mentioned above. Hiking club, etc., etc..

    Such feel good times then, and Hightower exuded compassion, calm and smarts (even I could tell this as a grade school student – his presence and casual charm would ease students (and faculty) minds. Just walking the “halls”, he made everyone smile.)

    Good heart who planted seeds of sincerity and goodwill.

    My condolences.

  17. Glenn was my “work” dad. He hired me as a teacher and was always such a positive influence and mentor over the years. He defined Bedford and what it meant to do the right thing. I echo all of the comments above.
    Sending huge hugs to the Hightower girls. I find some comfort in knowing that he has joined his love in heaven with Beverly.

  18. Dr. Hightower was an extraordinary school administrator and truly cared for the children under his care.

    After my dyslectic kid was told by 2 heads of Special Ed in elementary school that she would never learn to read — “..and you can’t take the 4th grade CAP test because you’ll lower the scores..” we landed at Bedford Middle School.

    The professionals there were comfortable working with outside tutors we hired and my kid — 5 AP 5’s, degrees in physics, engineering and an MEM — learned to read. I feel this was largely because he allowed his excellent staff to have the welfare of their students as a #1 priority.

    I’m weepy now. This man left the planet way too early.

  19. Thomas Carey

    I knew Glenn as Principal of Bedford Middle School, as an opposing Rec Basketball coach and as father of my daughter’s friend. In all respects, he was a Prince of rationality, class and strength. I consider myself luck to have known a man of his quality.

  20. Nell Mednick

    I remember Glenn as the most helpful, patient, friendly and eager recipient for changes and innovations. He was the principal for continuing education when I taught French. There was nobody like him ! Sad news for Westport!

  21. Ellen Wasserman

    I have so many memories of Glenn as my children’s principal and as my boss. I admired him from the first day I met him when he gave me a tour of BMS in the late 80s when the district lines were redrawn and Long Lots kids were being moved to BMS. His calm demeanor, sense of humor, and wonderful smile contributed to the warmth of the Bedford community. My family will miss him. We send our condolences to Holly, Julie, and Heather.

  22. Paula Pastorelli-Schooler

    My heart broke today when I learned of Glenn’s passing . Although Glenn was student in the Restorative yoga class that I teach at the Westport Senior Center,he was always my teacher. Glenn showed us all what kindness, sincerity and true authenticity really looks like . He was a true listener, had a wonderful smile and a beautiful rich voice. He managed my daughter and her pals thru junior high with the greatest of ease. Peace be with Glenn and his family

    • All these accolades are so true. A good person with a great family who brought a smile with him wherever he was.

  23. Jennifer Vogt Vilenski

    Dr. Hightower and his wife Beverly were very kind people. The
    Vogt family remembers them both fondly, and our thoughts and prayers are with Holly, Julie and Heather at this time.

  24. Alan Phillips

    The world just lost a “Tzadik”.(a righteous man).
    RIP Dr Hightower. You will be greatly missed.

  25. One of my favorite people. Like Tony Eason said, a time when administrators were allowed to administrate. Dr. Hightower and Mr. Bludnicki where a great “one two punch” and I say that with a smile. It was their school and we were blessed to have them as educators. To the Hightower family our family sends our deepest sympathy to your entire family.

  26. Lesson for the day. A hedge fund guy makes more money, but would never earn the kind thoughts that are expressed here today.

  27. James Honeycutt

    “Dr. Hightower” as I always addressed him was a good administrator and friend. We ran many a Westport race together over the years. As a teacher, it was always fun to hear him on the P.A. as his low, warm, somewhat-southern or western voice shook the woofers throughout the school. His wife and kids were all terrific as I got to know them over the years. I will always have good memories of him and his family.

  28. Luisa Francoeur

    I, too, have fond memories of Glenn and his wife Beverly. He was steady as a rock, calm and always had a ready smile. My son was in Heather’s class so we also saw the family side and the love and caring shown to all. Memories are a poor substitute but they are enduring and good. Deepest sympathy to the Hightower “girls”.

  29. Although I was part of the Westport school system for nearly 40 years, I never knew nor worked with Glenn professionally. Lucky me, for I was to know him as the ever-attentive and loving husband to radiant Bev, a sweet dad to three daughters (two of whom were my students at SHS), a very proud father of a bride at a wedding in a little town in Vermont, generous hosting with Bev at the bright Christmas parties, and always, always a bit of the smiling homespun young man from Oklahoma–the accent never lost..

  30. Martha Hauhuth

    Glenn and Beverly were in the new neighbors bridge club with Bob and me when we were all new to Westport. He was the first man I knew who wore cowboy boots. That’s how long ago it was. He was a lovely person. a great educator and a dedicated runner. It was an honor to know him.

  31. Jennifer Hauhuth

    You knew that he cared and you could talk to him about anything.
    He helped me to feel that I was important and valued, when I did not feel that myself. Thank you.

  32. Kris Hauhuth Schultz

    My Bedford years were some of my fondest and he was one of the reasons. Just hearing that voice made me feel safe. Rest in Peace.

  33. He was my principal from 72-75, and my son’s from 97-01. He surely adapted with the times, as the school and students certainly changed over those years. He was the best man for the job, which was never an easy one. RIP.

  34. Warren Shapiro

    Dr. Hightower showed our family only exceptional kindness and understanding during a time when we really needed it. He was a Westport treasure as he was that way to everyone! A fine man and a dear friend. We mourn his passing. A great loss. The world is a poorer place without him.

  35. Michael Krein

    My condolences to you three wonderful young women who I am sure were influenced by this wonderful man. May you remember him with the love and support he gave to so many for so many years.