DPF Announces National Search for Executive Director; Woodford Departs Organization

SAN FRANCISCO – May 30 -- Death Penalty Focus today announced the resignation of Executive Director Jeanne Woodford and the appointment of Vice President Virginia Van Zandt as Interim Executive Director, effective immediately.

Mike Farrell, President of DPF’s Board of Directors, said that the board will conduct a national search for a new executive director.

“We want to thank Jeanne for her outstanding service,’’ Farrell said. “She has helped Death Penalty Focus make great strides in our goal of educating the public about the death penalty and its alternatives. She did a terrific job as the primary spokesperson for the Proposition 34 campaign and was instrumental in helping us come as close as we did to abolishing the death penalty in California.’’

Woodford, a former director of the California Department of Corrections, joined Death Penalty Focus as Executive Director in May 2011. She began her career as a corrections officer and served as Warden at San Quentin, where she oversaw four executions.

“After the accomplishments of the past two years, I am ready for a new opportunity,’’ Woodford said. “We came very close to abolishing California’s death penalty and I’m very proud of DPF’s role in that effort. The organization is strong, the mission remains critical and a new leader will bring renewed energy and ideas to the cause.’’

Van Zandt, a longtime non-profit executive, joined DPF’s board in 1993. She has served as Administrative Director for Bay Area Video Coalition, Director of Development for the California College of Arts and Crafts and Youth Law Center, Executive Director for the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center and a development consultant to many non-profit organizations. She formerly served as a board member for San Francisco Camerawork and Humanitas International Human Rights Committee.


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