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State School Superintendent Richard Woods visits GES
Parker's class
Guests with Mrs. Michelle Parker’s fourth-grade class. Front row (l to r): Macy Johnson and Mattix Smith. Second Row: A’Miyah McMillan, Payton Roberts, Lyric Kennedy, Yamil Carabalo, Ya’Travies Butler, Viola Adams, Adellya Metcalfe, Travion Sallie, and Madison Stanfield. Back Row: Olivia Laird, Michelle Parker, Matt Donaldson, State School Superintendent Richard Woods, Hannah Tigner, Leam Santiago, Jayden Tigner, and Bill Werkheiser. - photo by Sarah Smith

State Superintendent Richard Woods handed out signed pocket constitutions to the fourth-grade students at Glennville Elementary School (GES) on April 8.

Woods walked through the halls of GES and visited each fourth-grade classroom, speaking to the students about the importance of knowing U.S. and Georgia history. While handing out these pocket constitutions, Woods answered questions from the students and quizzed them on their knowledge of the Declaration of Independence. 

The students asked him questions like: “Do you work for the president?” “Who is your boss?” “What do you do at your job?” “Where are you from?” “Are you rich?” “Do you live in a penthouse?” and “Are you famous?”

Each and every student in each classroom thanked Woods for stopping by and generously signing and handing out these constitutions. Kohen Klymshyn and Britney Sims, two GS fourth graders, were proud to escort Woods to the classrooms and help him with passing out the books. 

Michelle Parker, GES fourth grade English and language arts teacher, reached out to the office of the superintendent and extended an invite. Parker and GES Principal Kristi Kaiser, PhD., were overjoyed when they received a response. 

“I was so grateful that he accepted our invitation, because I know he is very busy. I was excited to see the kids have a personal interaction with a constitutional officer in our state.

Woods visited GES six years ago, but Parker felt it was important that he visit after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I just felt led to reach out to him,” Parker said. “We have a great group of students in the fourth grade and at GES overall. I wanted him to see how the kids and educators in Tattnall County have stepped up since the pandemic. We are thriving, and much of that is because of the hard work of Mr. Woods and the changes he has made.”

Woods of Tifton was elected as Georgia’s State School Superintendent in November of 2014 and re-elected in 2018. He has over 29 years of Pre-K through 12th-grade experience in public education. He was a high school teacher for 14 years, serving as department chair and teacher mentor. For eight years, Woods served in administrative roles including assistant principal, principal, curriculum director, testing coordinator, Pre-K director, and alternative school director​.

Kaiser and Parker praised Woods for his awareness of the classroom and his willingness to listen to educators and their needs. Parker feels as though she is able to teach more and teach in a less stressful environment because of the changes Woods and the Tattnall County Board of Education has made in Georgia schools.

Also, in attendance was State Representative Bill Werkheiser, State Board of Education Member Matt Donaldson, Tattnall County Schools Superintendent Gina Williams, PhD., Assistant Superintendent Carla Waters, Tattnall County Curriculum Director Kristen Waters, GES Assistant Principal Sasha Quarles, and GES Assistant Principal Jill Woodson.