Liberty County High School’s new principal, Stephanie Woods, is excited about the upcoming school year.
She spoke to the Hinesville Rotary Club during its weekly luncheon meeting Tuesday at La Quinta Inn and Suites in Flemington.
Jeff Arnold, a local attorney, introduced Woods and called her family “Liberty County royalty.” He talked about meeting her father, Harold Woods, and his good character and wisdom. Arnold said Harold Woods was a mentor to him and that the ability to mentor runs in the Woods family.
Arnold said Stephanie Woods mentored his son and helped shaped him into the gentleman he is today. Arnold also thought it was appropriate that the new principal will work at the school whose stadium bears the name of Donnell Woods, her uncle.
Once she was named the new LCHS principal, Woods hit the ground running. She is looking forward to an exciting school year in academics and extracurricular activities. Woods described herself as a product of the Liberty County School System. After graduating from Bradwell Institute in 1983, Woods went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from South Carolina State University, her teaching certification in business education from Armstrong Atlantic State University, master’s of education from Cambridge College and education specialist degree in leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. She also attended Savannah State University and Georgia Southern University.
Woods has worked for the Liberty County School System for 25 years — 15 at LCHS in the business education department and nine years as assistant principal at Bradwell.
“This year, I have the privilege to return back to Pantherland as the principal. I’m quite familiar with the high expectations that will come with the role of principalship,” Woods said. “But we have excellent educators in our schools, and I look forward to building upon the existent successes that are already in place.”
Woods talked about creating a positive school climate and culture. The staffs from Horizons Learning Center, the district’s new alternative school, and the three middle schools have gone through training called “Capturing Kids’ Hearts.” She said all high school certified staff will be trained next.
“This training will teach us ways to develop and build healthy relationships between members of our school and educational community. The teachers will learn and practice skills that they will use to model in their classrooms and within the school,” she said. “I’ve heard nothing but positive comments from this training, and I’m looking forward to participating as well.”
Woods said she will promote the mission and vision of the district, which is to provide all students an education that promotes excellence, citizenship and a love of learning. She encouraged the audience to support all the children in Liberty County.
Woods ended by paraphrasing a quote from John Dewey, an educational reformer and American philosopher.
She said, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child is what the community should want for all its children. The students of Liberty County — these are our children, our future. With that I just want to extend the support that you all give and will continue to give to all our students within our county.”
Rotarians then asked her questions pertaining to school. She was asked whether LCHS was fully staffed. Woods answered yes, except in the areas of special education and math.
Another asked whether the STEM — an acronym commonly used in education circles that refers to the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math — program has been initiated yet at Liberty. Not yet, but she said it will be looked into.
Hinesville Rotary Club President Hasit Patel asked Woods to reiterate an answer she had earlier given him about schools in Liberty County versus Bryan County.
Woods told the audience, “Schools in Bryan County — especially the high schools — they are only, about, one or two points ahead of us when you look at test scores. So we have to commend what is going on here in Liberty County with our students, because we are showing gains in a lot of areas.”