As a school improvement specialist at Long Branch Elementary, Tina Wood has the unique opportunity to impact the lives of teachers, students, and parents.
With over 25 years of experience in the classroom, Tina is a pro when it comes to leaving a positive impression on students’ lives. She knows how transformational these years are to students, recounting how her own road to teaching began as a student.
As an 8th-grader and office assistant, her mornings were spent running errands and delivering messages to teachers throughout her Dahlonega middle school.Back before email and intercom systems had taken root, Tina was tasked with managing communications from the main office throughout the school.
While delivering an item to one particular 6th-grade classroom, she found that a substitute had not been assigned for that teacher. The students were just sitting there idly waiting for the day to begin. Being the resourceful student that she was, she grabbed the lesson plan from the teacher’s desk and sprung into action.
She began teaching the day’s lesson on her own, until help arrived from the main office. Although only a few years older than the students, Tina kept the crowd attentive and engaged. It was at this moment a lightbulb went off in her head.
Tina Wood had heard her calling to become an educator.
Tina began keeping a journal of all the different things she learned to do, and not to do, from her teachers. It was like her diary. She collected tidbits of information from every teacher she would have. Her likes, her dislikes, what made students eyes light up, and what made them run for cover.
One particularly formative relationship was with her Computer Science teacher, Ms. Eager.
“The way she taught her lessons, how she engaged students - Ms. Eager made binary code the best thing ever. Her ability to turn anything into something fun and interesting really impacted the way I teach today.”
Tina likened her teaching philosophy to that of the Hippocratic Oath doctors take:
“I want to be exemplary in my profession and a role model to others. I want to finish each day knowing that my work has been beneficial to the lives I’ve been privileged to touch. You never know how even the smallest gestures of kindness, or just showing a student that you care, can have a monumental effect on the way they think about learning.”
As a school improvement specialist in her hometown of Dahlonega, Tina helps teachers by equipping them with the tools they need to be successful by mentoring them.
“I help the teachers analyze student data and make decisions on what types of interventions we can provide. Whether it be a program, a tutor, or just some more one-on-one time, it’s my job to figure out how to give students what they need in order to be successful.”
Tina transferred her passion for teaching to her two children, both of whom are also teachers.
In her free time, Tina can be found living it up in the great outdoors. A “Dahlonega nugget,” she enjoys all sorts of adrenaline-pumping activities that are exciting enough to be the envy of any adventure seeker!
“It’s like the chorus in It’s My Life by Bon Jovi, ‘Now or never, we’re not gonna’ live forever!” she playfully added.