- Alma School District
Wood excited about new position 4/18/22
Wood excited about new position
By Kevin Taylor
Stacie Wood knew long before she was juggling family and the life skills that come with work and school that she would be a teacher.
But administration is a bit of a different story.
"I had Mrs. (Gwendolyn) Stockemeyer for my kindergarten teacher and I remember loving school," Wood said. "I always knew from then on I wanted to be a teacher. And then, on top of that, I always knew I wanted to be a principal because I loved (Alma Primary Principal) Marsha Woolly."
The late Marsha Woolly served as Alma Primary School principal for 22 years before retiring in 2008. Wood joined APS after Shawn Bullard was promoted to principal.
A 1994 Alma graduate, Wood earned her doctorate in educational leadership from Arkansas State University in 2020. After three years as one of Brian Kirkendoll’s Alma High School principals, Wood will transition this summer to assistant superintendent of curriculum and Instruction, where she’ll replace longtime Alma administrator Pamm Treece.
“Even though I don’t want her to leave, even though the district will benefit from her, you always want someone that works for you or with you to advance,” Kirkendoll said. “It’s just like head football coaches; if they have coordinators who go on to be head coaches, that’s a good thing.”
For Treece, a North Little Rock native, being replaced by Wood is full circle. She had Wood in the classroom.
“I had Stacie in middle school,” Treece said. “She was in a very competitive class. She’s always been quiet, but she’s a quiet leader. When I knew I was retiring, I had a couple of people on staff I thought about, but she was at the top of the class very quickly. We have some quality leaders here, but the thing that was appealing to me was her skillset.
“I knew that separated Dr. Wood from the others in that respect.”
"One thing that's important to me is that if you're going to supervise people, you need to know about everything you're supervising,” Wood said. “I had never done anything in secondary (education); all mine was lower education.
“(But) I really felt like I wanted to get secondary (education) experience, and I'm glad I did.”
Wood’s progression included kind encouragement from the aforementioned Woolly and former Van Buren Superintendent Dr. Merle Dickerson.
"When I was in Van Buren, Dr. Dickerson used to say at administrator meetings, 'No one wants to be a principal; somebody talks you into becoming a principal.' But I was the oddball; I always knew that's what I wanted to do," Wood said. "I never really thought about doing anything higher than that, but when you're in school (college), you don't really see that.”
Dickerson saw something in Wood.
"A few years into teaching, Dr. Dickerson came and talked to me and said, 'I've noticed you're a really great teacher. Do you have any thoughts of going into administration?' I said, 'Yes, I've always thought about doing that,' so he kind of encouraged me to go that route. He influenced me pretty early in my career," Wood said. "He was really big into growing leaders."
Wood taught fifth grade for one year at Central Elementary school before taking a third-grade position at Tate Elementary.
“I taught fifth grade at Central Middle School and moved to Tate for a few years (third grade and intervention) ... I was in the last year of finishing up my master's and a curriculum position came up,” Wood explained. “I hadn't really thought about doing that, but in Van Buren, that's sort of the tract you took. For one year, I took that position at Northridge, and then the job at Alma Primary opened up."
In 2008-09, Wood returned to Alma roots, albeit briefly. By now she had young children of her own. Wood said she was pretty content.
Or so she thought.
"I loved it there," Wood said. "I would have been happy there forever, and Dr. Dickerson called me and told me a position had come open in Van Buren. Principals were pretty stable in Van Buren at the elementary level. I told him I wasn't interested.
"Zane (her oldest child) was in first grade there, and somebody else called me I really admired and said you need to think about that."
Wood applied for the Parkview Elementary School (K-4) principal position. She was there for 11 years.
When Kirkendoll replaced longtime Alma High School Principal Jerry Valentine in 2019, he knew exactly who he wanted to hire as his replacement as assistant principal.
“She’s been a building principal but there was some concern on some people’s behalf because she had been an elementary principal, but I knew better because I knew her personality,” Kirkendoll said. “She’s done a wonderful job. The district is going to benefit from it and Alma High School is better as a result of her being here.”
"I know I've only been here three years, but I've learned so much about graduation credits, and what kids have to do to be successful at this age developmentally. People think, '(high school) these (high school) kids are adults, but they still need lots and lots of support to get there. I'm so glad I made this move."
“She exceeded what I had hoped for,” Kirkendoll said. “The first thing she excels in is relationships. She’s even-keel; she’s engaging with people. She did a great job, but she would have done even better had not COVID been here because she had to deal with all the tracing with kids.”
"One big difference is it's working with all adults," Wood said. "I'm a kid person; I love the kids. I always think about how many kids I'll be able to touch through working with teachers. Right now, I'm learning the ins and outs of what curriculum is being used - how they're teaching, and what they're using to teach.
"It's kind of the same job as a principal but on a grander scale."
“I feel compelled that this person, the person sitting here, is going to better serve our students because she has that understanding of having a great skillset,” Treece added. “No matter who is in leadership, we (administration) can’t let go of what it’s like to be a teacher, and I think Stacie brings that.
“She has kept that as the forefront of her focus.”
Students at Alma Intermediate School are getting ready for purple up day! We purple up for military kids to show support and thanks for their strength and sacrifices, so don't forget to wear your purple!