By Taylor Boyd
Jason Wood began his new role as Acting Superintendent of the Patrick County School division on Wednesday.
“I always wanted to serve this county. I grew up here, my kids will grow up here, and I always wanted the best opportunity for my kids and my grandkids. I want to stay here for the rest of my career and my retirement,” he said.
Wood, 43, said he prayed about his decision before applying.
“I was very thankful and feel blessed to have been selected,” he said.
Wood believes the biggest problem he will face in this position will always be the challenge of educating students. He said this involves “trying to stay ahead of the learning curve with new instructional strategies, and the new curriculum we have to teach.”
He added this problem also involves making sure the division has a top-notch instructional program to prepare students for the workforce or continued education.
Remaining competitive with surrounding counties as an employer is another challenge he anticipates in the new role.
“We want to retain our staff and we want to celebrate their accomplishments and reward them for their hard work and dedication,” he said, adding that finding ways to celebrate teacher and staff success often involves finances.
“To remain competitive financially with pay and health insurance will be difficult, but I look forward to looking for new opportunities and ways to address these issues,” he said.
Short-term goals include finding ways to incentivize staff to remain, addressing learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring schools are providing the best instruction for the students.
“Making sure we provide the best instruction for our students to help them be successful, not only in their academics, but also in their social/emotional health and physical health. Because being out of school for as long as we were, there’s a lot of needs that are outside of textbooks,” he said.
Among Wood’s long-term goals are continuing academic excellence and the division’s reputation of excellent staff and well-behaved students. Wood said he hopes to build on that and make the division one of the top in the state.
His most rewarding career moments as an educator resulted from making sure students are well taken care of and being able to meet their needs. He particularly enjoys seeing the excitement on students’ faces when they learn new things.
One accolade he is particularly proud of is being a part of Meadows of Dan Elementary School becoming a National Blue-Ribbon School.
“That wasn’t solely on our academic performance at Meadows of Dan, but our community supported us to meet the needs of the whole child,” he said.
Wood said he believes the school was nominated for the award in-part because of the school family culture in the area that helped to take care of the entire child with afterschool programs, community involvement, and guest speakers.
“The culture that we brought to Meadows of Dan Elementary School, I was just very fortunate to be a part of such a great family,” he said.
He wants to help expand this culture to other schools.
“That’s what I want for all the schools – a focus on family and building those positive relationships so we are a safe place for students, the center of communities for our families, and also a place where our staff loves to come to work,” he said.
Wood began his teaching career in the science department of Patrick County High School (PCHS). He then took a head coaching position at Fieldale-Collinsville High School where he also taught high school Biology and Earth Science. When that school consolidated with Bassett High School, Wood became the Athletic Director before he was named Assistant Principal two years later.
In 2014, Wood moved back to the Patrick County School system and was selected principal of Meadows of Dan Elementary School, where he served until 2020. In July 2020, he became the Activities Director for Patrick County, and was most recently named Assistant Superintendent of the division.
A graduate of PCHS, Wood attended Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC) for two years before transferring to Ferrum College, where he also played intercollegiate basketball. He graduated in 2000. He has a MA in Educational Leadership from Jones International University and completed his Education Specialist degree from Ferrum in July 2021.
Wood married fellow teacher Libby Wood in 2005. The couple have three children, Callie, 14; Meredith 12; and Blake, 10, and three youngsters because of an emergency custody situation, Blake, 9; Phoebe 7; and Sebastian, 5.