Wood named Teacher of the Year finalist

Special to the Times

Luella High School art teacher John Wood has been named a finalist for Teacher of the Year for Georgia. The announcement was made on Monday, April 13 by State School Superintendent Richard Woods and the Georgia Department of Education.

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The 13-year veteran teacher becomes the second Henry County teacher in the past three years to earn the distinction of a top ten finalist. Eagle’s Landing High School teacher Barbara Rosolino was a finalist in 2013.

Wood was named Henry County Schools’ Teacher of the Year at the annual Harvest of Heroes this past October. Wood bested 50 teachers locally to move on to the state competition where he has been selected among the top 10 of 151 teachers of the year from across the state.

The selection caught the humble teacher by surprise, but he noted that he is ready to represent the county with the potential to become the state’s teacher of the year.

“I am extremely excited to represent Henry County and Henry County Schools as a Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist,” said Wood. “It is my goal to spread the word of the amazing endeavors we as a school system are moving towards. It is truly an honor.”

With this designation, Wood will now take part in a more in-depth process to show a panel of judges what sets him apart from his peers in the classroom. He will give a speech in front of fellow finalists at an April luncheon sponsored Georgia Power while also sitting for an interview and providing a video example of his classroom instruction. The Georgia Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 8, 2015 in Atlanta.

Wood grew up in metro Atlanta and is a graduate of Mt. Zion High School. He holds degrees from Georgia Southern and Georgia State University. He started his teaching career in Henry County in 2002.

“Henry County Schools is proud of John Wood and his recent accomplishment of being named a Top Ten Finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year,” said Henry County Schools Superintendent Rodney Bowler. “We rely upon outstanding, dedicated teachers to impact our youth and inspire them to strive to be the best they can be in school and beyond.”

John’s dedication to his students in and outside of school has made a strong impression across Henry County, and we are extremely proud that a panel of judges from across Georgia received the same impression and named him a finalist for the state’s top teaching honor.”

Luella High School Principal Jerry Smith was quick to share his excitement for his school’s esteemed art teacher and the impact Wood has had on the culture of the school.

“John Wood is a great example of how a teacher can care, have high expectations, help students daily to reach those expectations and inspire them to do great work, even beyond what they thought they could do,” shared Smith. “He understands that the arts make those connections for students among all their areas of study. He works tirelessly because he wants the best for his students and cares deeply about his community, knowing that the arts help build a positive, supportive society. “

“We Lions are very proud of him. He is the PRIDE of the Luella Pride.”

Wood’s strong passion for teaching encompasses impacting students on their level and engaging them in ways beyond the typical classroom. Valuable experiences in project-based learning and relevant work opportunities are cornerstones for him to be able to broaden student interest in the arts as a subject and possible career.

“I would say every child can learn, but we as teachers need to take the time to foster that learning outside of the classroom in a real-world setting where students can utilize their skills to work with others,” stated Wood.

For more information on Henry County Schools, visit www.henry.k12.ga.us. To find out more about the Georgia Teacher of the Year program, visit www.gadoe.org.