Dr. Linda Wood returns to Troup High School, becomes TOTY nominee

Published 8:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2021

EDITOR’S NOTE: The LaGrange Daily News is writing a profile on all 25 teachers of the year in the Troup County School System.  

Dr. Linda Wood has been in education for the Troup County School System for 30 years as both a teacher and principal. Yet, if you asked her in high school what she wanted to do, she would not have been able to predict the career she chose.

“When I decided to become a teacher, I was actually going to be a concert violinist,” Wood said. “And finally one night I thought, ‘I want to teach’. I had no idea what I wanted to teach, but I just thought, this is what I really want to do. I have a passion for writing, writing is what I loved.”

This year, Wood was nominated along with Mrs. Robinson by her peers as Teacher of the Year. Wood currently teaches American Literature at Troup High School. Troup principal Niki Watts said she attributes Wood’s success to her varied career in the education sector.

“Dr. Wood is a former administrator and principal at the high school and elementary level that left the administrative capacity to come back to the classroom and finish out her career [here],” Watts said.

Watts said after Wood transferred to THS that she witnessed a drastic increase in student test scores.

“We’ve had huge gains in our English Language Arts standardized test scores, and it’s a direct result of the devotion that she puts into it and her understanding of the content,” Watts said.

Watts said Wood also teaches special education and is able to help students who may struggle with disabilities that affect how they learn.

“We have the inclusion classes. So any of our American Lit students that are special education take her course, but they take it in correlation with regular ed students at the same time,” Watts said.

Wood said she tries to be mindful that each student she has learns differently and applies that to her classroom as much as she can.

“I always look at what the standards are. What [do] the students really need to know?” Wood said. “Then what can I do that would engage them to know that and have them remember [it]?”

Watts said that she attributes Wood’s nomination and results in the classroom to her expectations and compassion for her students.

“I think for her it’s a mixture of compassion and support [for] the kids but also unwavering in her expectations,” Watts said. “She has the same level of expectation for her students in her room, whether they’re a special education student or not. You don’t walk into her room and feel any sense of difference in the way that she approaches kids.”

Wood’s students agree with this and have personally grown due to her teaching. Ja’Amber Grier, a 17-year-old at THS, said Wood helped her realize that she enjoyed writing.

“Before I had her class, I never liked to write,” Grier said. “I like to write more now than I did before. I always read books. The books that she gave us were always interesting to me, so I will read them.”

Christian Wood said Wood makes class fun for her students, and it helps them put the plot of what they read into perspective.   

“[She makes] the class fun. We did a lot of projects. We’re financing money to survive on the island with nothing,” Wood said.

Wood, herself, said that the students are what motivated her to stay in teaching instead of retiring when she had the opportunity. 

“I could have retired last December. I’m here because I want to be here, not because I have to be here, not because I need to get to retirement, not because I need a paycheck,” Wood said. “I’m here because I love what I do, and I like having them learn and grow. I really enjoy their enthusiasm and their learning. I enjoy seeing them be enthusiastic about things.”