When she was a child, Patti Wood often played “school” with a group of her neighborhood friends. This year, she received the Award for Lifetime Achievement in Gifted Education from the Alabama Association for Gifted Children during the 2021 AAGC Conference for her incredible work in the education field. Wood received her Ph.D. in Special Education/Gifted and Talented at the University of Alabama, and for the past 46 years, she has transformed lives inside and outside the classroom.
Wood has been a part of the Samford community since 2006 as Director of the Graduate Program in Gifted Education at Orlean Beeson School of Education.
Samford University has four undergraduate programs education majors can pursue at the Orlean Beeson School of Education, including Human Development and Family Science, Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative (ESEC), Elementary Education with a concentration in Christian Education and Missions, and finally, Secondary Education. Students leave the Orlean Beeson School of Education not only with experience, but with passion to educate others no matter what specific field they pursue. Professors such as Wood cultivate this strong sense of dedication to education.
As much as she is a teacher, Wood said she believes in “life-long learning,” and emphasizes the importance of personal and professional growth in all of her students. Wood not only focuses on teaching in the classroom, but also helps other school districts meet requirements that gifted students may require.
Wood’s extensive involvement allowed her to sharpen her teaching skills, while also understanding the needs of every student. However, the largest takeaway from her experience and time at Samford is that of service.
“Helping others learn something new every day is my mantra,” Woods said. “I have found joy and fulfillment in teaching others.”