MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE
Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, email@example.com or Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, (404)
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January 12, 2015 -- Richard Woods was sworn into office today as
Georgia’s 22nd State School Superintendent. A 22-year public school educator
and former small business owner, Superintendent Woods brings years of
experience and a commitment of collaboration to improve Georgia's
“I am honored to serve as State
School Superintendent and excited about the future of education in Georgia,”
said Superintendent Woods. "Though we face many challenges, I am committed
to listening to students, parents, and teachers, and working with the
Governor, State Board, and General Assembly to develop solutions that ensure
the betterment of our children's future and the teaching profession.”
Superintendent Woods has several
issues he will concentrate on immediately. He will work to improve
collaboration, ensure child-focused and classroom-centered instruction, and improve communication with
education stakeholders. Below are some of these initiatives (full list
● Will conduct a series of Teacher Focus Groups and Community
Town Hall events across the state to listen to the concerns and ideas of our
students, parents, and teachers.
● Will allow our schools to offer traditional discrete
math courses or integrated math courses, and to finally address the challenges
our individual students and teachers face at the high school level.
● Committed to the idea -- as are the Governor and State BOE
-- that our students deserve the very best standards; proposed revisions are a
step in that direction. Public comments show that concerns remain -- especially
by our teachers -- and more revisions need to take place as we hear from educators
throughout the state.
Science and Social Studies Standards
● Agreement with Governor and State BOE that our Science and
Social Studies standards must be Georgia-owned and Georgia-grown.
● Will establish and define foundational standards for K-5
that ensure our students have a firm footing for academic success.
● One basic foundation we must emphasize is identifying
reading deficiencies early and providing professional development to equip all
elementary grade teachers to meet the needs of these students (also a shared
passion of First Lady Sandra Deal).
● Supports Governor’s push for Computer Science to count as a
fourth-year core math or science credit. Will work with State Board to expand
this concept by allowing courses such as financial literacy and other Career,
Tech and Agriculture courses to count as core credit toward graduation.
● Will look at offering a wide range of diploma seals -- from
Career Pathways to AP and honors course completion -- to personalize education.
● Calling on members of the General Assembly to explore ways
to diminish the burden of excessive testing and will work closely with
GaDOE staff to develop the most effective diagnostic testing system possible.
● Will continue working with the State Board on this
issue by asking for a one-year moratorium on the use of test scores in the
CCRPI school-grading measurement.
● Will work to free up administrators to focus on teachers
entering the profession or those who continue to struggle in the classroom,
while allowing our great teachers to teach and treating them as professionals
by allowing content- or grade-level peers from surrounding schools or school
systems to provide these teachers with real professional feedback.
● Will work to ensure we find the right balance between
accountability and responsibility.
● Will work with all parties to ensure that as many dollars as
possible flow into our classrooms to directly support the success of our
● A critical part of this is creating a funding formula that
provides every child with access to a quality education -- whether it be a
child in Tift County or one in Forsyth County.
● Plan to launch a public awareness campaign to highlight all
the initiatives taking place in our schools across the state.
“Georgians have a history of pulling
together to meet our challenges head on. With great challenges come great
opportunities,” Superintendent Woods said. “There are no greater opportunities
than the 1.7 million students and 100,000+ teachers in our classrooms every
day. With a collaborative effort, real communication, and the pursuit of
classroom-centered and child-focused policies, we can realize the full
potential of our great state.”
Superintendent Woods’ Biography:
Richard Woods was born in Pensacola,
Florida, and while growing up in a military family, lived in California,
Hawaii, and Virginia before moving to Georgia. He graduated from Fitzgerald
High School, and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from Kennesaw State
University and a Master’s Degree from Valdosta State University.
Woods has over 22 years of Pre-K
through 12th grade experience in public education. Woods was a high school
teacher for 14 years, serving as department chair and teacher mentor. During
his tenure, he was also selected as Teacher of the Year. For eight years Woods
served in various administrative roles such as assistant principal, principal,
curriculum director, testing coordinator, Pre-K director, and alternative
Woods also brings a business
background to the superintendent's position, having been a purchasing agent for
a national/multi-national laser company and a former small business owner.
He and his wife Lisha, a retired
30-year educator, are long-time residents of Tifton and have been married for