Richard Woods, Georgia's School Superintendent
Richard Woods was elected as Georgia's State School Superintendent in November of 2014, and reelected in 2018. Woods has over 29 years of Pre-K through 12th-grade experience in public education. He was a high school teacher for 14 years, serving as department chair and teacher mentor. For eight years, Woods served in administrative roles including assistant principal, principal, curriculum director, testing coordinator, Pre-K director, and alternative school director.
During his time as State School Superintendent, Woods has remained laser-focused on the classroom and the wellbeing of Georgia's students. Under his leadership, the state has seen its largest-ever reduction of high-stakes testing requirements, an all-time high graduation rate, a 97% graduation rate for Career Pathway completers, and steady increases in SAT and ACT scores.
Georgia has expanded STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, introduced STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) school certification, and introduced new student opportunities in the areas of personal finance, fine arts, and Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education. The Georgia Department of Education has hired its first-ever employees dedicated to supporting the fine arts and military students, and established an Office of Whole Child Supports, an Office of School Safety and Climate, and an Office of Rural Education and Innovation.
Superintendent Woods has been honored with the National Art Education Association's Distinguished Service Outside the Profession Award, the Patriotic Employer Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (a Department of Defense office), and the Honorary American FFA Degree by the National FFA Organization.
He and his wife, Lisha, a retired 30-year educator, are longtime residents of Tifton and have been married for 31 years.