LOCKHART — Beverly Woods is the 2014 Lockhart School Teacher of the Year.
Woods, who currently teaches 5K at Lockhart, began her teaching career at what is now Union Christian Day School in 1979. She also taught at Monarch Elementary School before coming to Lockhart School as a fourth grade teacher in 1994.
Woods said she first realized her love of teaching as a teenager in church.
“During Bible School, a friend and I began taking charge of the three-year-old children’s group,” Woods said. “It was fun to see them enjoy doing the activities we provided for them. It was exciting to receive the teaching materials and design and set up the classroom like we wanted. We were singing, marching, coloring, painting, molding, gluing, cutting and all the other fun stuff you could ever imagine. Teaching was good and I loved it!”
Woods credited her parents with inspiring her interest in teaching.
“My dad was — and still is at age 85 — a Sunday School teacher,” Woods said. “He was always studying the Bible and looking things up in reference books. He would ask me questions and have me search for the answers. It didn’t take long to realize he already knew the answers. He was a good teacher, good role model, and mentor.”
She says that she has come to use that same technique in her classroom.
“My mother was the church pianist and she would practice until every note was perfect,” Woods added, explaining that her parents instilled in her the desire to work hard and to give her best.
Lockhart Principal Betsy Trakas said she rarely sees the high level of dedication and classroom success that Woods demonstrates each day. Trakas said Woods is an exemplary teacher.
“Her planning is thoughtful and creative with one goal in mind,” Trakas said. “Whether she is planning instructional strategies or management techniques, her aim is for the students to learn. Even the most challenging students seem to blossom in her classroom, and reading records and test scores attest to the fact that her students achieve.”
Trakas said she has often heard Woods’ colleagues refer to her “magic touch.”
“Mrs. Woods could tell them that planning, organization and dedication are the keys,” Trakas said.
Trakas said Woods — the only teacher at Lockhart School who was present every single day last year — exemplifies qualities that are characteristic of a true professional — integrity, responsibility, initiative and work ethic.
“Mrs. Woods is nearly always the first teacher to arrive in the morning, and usually the first to meet due dates throughout the year,” Trakas said. “When she sees a need, she volunteers to fill it.”
Trakas said Woods steps up to cover for others without being asked, and she never says no when asked to take on responsibility such as attending summer workshops or planning and presenting staff development sessions.
“I firmly believe today — as much as I did the first time I walked into a classroom — that all children deserve the right and should have the privilege to learn,” Woods said. “Education is the key to the future. Without it, many doors will not be opened to allow students to explore and to expand to their fullest potential.”
Being selected Teacher of the Year by her peers is not a new experience for Woods. She was named Monarch Elementary Teacher of the Year in 1992 and was selected as Teacher of the Year at Lockhart in 1998 and 2004.
“I want my students to love school as I do,” says Woods. “I want it to be fun because that’s what learning should be. I want them to have a good time experiencing new and different things. I want them to experience the joy of learning.”
Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234.