Falesha Wood is a well-known and loved part of the Rider staff, but this year brings on some new challenges for her. Wood has stepped down from her position as an English teacher to take on a new role as an assistant principal, replacing Amanda Mann. The Rider Chronicle sat down with the new member of administration to see how she is taking on her position.
Q: What prompted your transition from english teacher to assistant principal?
A: I’ve been in the classroom for 18 years and although I love teaching kids, I wanted to explore a new role. It took me a while to make the move because I was reluctant for a long time. I thought I might not have the same relationships with my students. It just kind of all happened fast. I was urged by my family and just took the chance. I don’t know if the year of COVID 2020 was the right year, but here I am.
Q: What changes are you hoping to bring to the administration?
A: Everyone knows I love to speak my opinion. I advocate for students and teachers, which I think our administration is great at doing. I’m so close to the ground, coming in from being a teacher, and there have not been teachers for quite some time so I feel like I bring that to the table
Q: What is your primary goal as an assistant principal?
A: My primary goal is to not only make this a safe place, but to also carry out our mission of having every student know what they are going to do when they graduate. We want every kid to be successful, and in doing that I want to meet as many kids as I can and create the same relationships I did in the classroom.
Q: What have you missed about teaching so far?
A: I guess just the immediate relationships that you build with your class, and I’m just going to have to get used to it being slower now. Thirty kids walk in your room, and you force them to talk to you, know who you are and you want to know who they are. It’s just harder because you’re not given the same avenues to create those relationships as quickly in this role.
Q: Would you ever transition back to the classroom or do you feel as if you have found a permanent home in administration?
A: Like I said before, I probably picked the hardest year ever to become a principal. There are just so many things, so many obstacles and I’m not gonna lie, it’s been hard. I am used to getting to school at 7:30 a.m., sometimes later, because I’ve had my own late arrival since my kids have always been in elementary school. Now that my youngest is in junior high I don’t have to have that first period off, so I went from getting to school at like 7:45 a.m. and leaving at 3:20 p.m. to getting to school at 6:15 a.m. and I leave at 5-5:30 p.m.. I was joking the other day that I’m never gonna have a clean house again or never cook a home-cooked meal again. So that’s not ever not a possibility of going back to the classroom. I just have to see how this year pans out. It’s been really hard the last couple of weeks but hopefully everything will calm down soon.
Q: What have you discovered about being in administration that most people don’t even realize?
A: There are so many fires to put out on a daily basis and there are so many needs — teacher needs, parents needs, student needs. I like to fix and do things for people and there are so many things during one day that I can’t get it all done. That’s what is bothering me right now, that I can’t help everyone and some things you just can’t fix and I’m getting used to that.