by Lorie Lewis Ham
Because we feel that those who educate our children are among the unsung heroes in our world, we at KRL like to profile local people in education who go above and beyond what they are required to do. This month we are doing our first Immanuel Schools profile on Ryan Wood, who is their Superintendent and High School Principal.
Growing up in Visalia, Ryan attended Redwood High School, Reedley College, Fresno State, and then National University for his Master’s Degree. He began his career with Immanuel Schools right out of college 18 years ago and has been there ever since. Little did he know when he accepted the position of baseball coach, that someday he would be superintendent. “They needed a baseball coach and they wanted to hire Jerry Rosser, who was the coach at Kingsburg, and he declined,” said Ryan. “He recommended me because I had spoken at the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) he was running at Kingsburg High School.”
Having played baseball at Reedley College and then Fresno State, Ryan was very qualified for the position of baseball coach. In 2009, he was inducted into the Reedley College Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding baseball career from 1990-92, stated KRL’s sports writer Larry Ham.
During his time at Immanuel, Ryan has taught PE, Health, Keyboarding, Computer Applications, Sophomore Bible, Algebra, Junior High Math, and Woodshop. He was the head coach of baseball for 11 years and football for three years, and has also been Vice Principal and Director of Administrative Services. “I made the move to administration eight years ago, but never intended to be superintendent. I guess the Lord had other plans.”
That move to administration was actually the hardest thing he has faced at his job. “It can be hard to make that transition (from teacher to administration) on the same school site.”
What he loves best about working at Immanuel is being able to freely share his love for Jesus at his work place, and watching the lives of students being changed, something that he is very thankful to be able to play a small part in. “Also, [I] really like the people I work with and the students.”
“Though he tends to have a serious, ‘No Nonsense,’ demeanor, he is truly kind hearted, definitely God fearing, and on the occasion a little bit silly,” said Corinne Hall, Executive Administrative Assistant to Ryan. “He loves Immanuel and all it stands for and it is a blessing to be his assistant.”
As an administrator, Ryan said he doesn’t have a typical work day. “I spend a lot of my day in conversation with people, answering questions, meetings, interacting with the community, and promoting Immanuel’s vision.”
“Ryan has the ability and desire to wear many hats which is necessary for visionary leadership at Immanuel,” said Ron Hudson, Director of Administrative Services for Immanuel Schools. “His desire for Immanuel is to grow and nurture the Christ based education that has been Immanuel’s foundation since 1944. In addition, he has a strong passion for academics, drama, music and athletics to excel and lead in the Central Valley.”
“When Ryan chooses to do something, he goes after it full force,” shared Phil Goertzen, Immanuel’s Elementary/Junior High Principal. “When describing Ryan Wood as a leader I would first view him as a servant. He demonstrates his leadership by modeling and giving of his time and energy. Ryan has been seen numerous times at Immanuel doing manual labor, building cabinets, installing internet cable…..the list could go on and on. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to lead. As superintendent of Immanuel schools he’s not ‘above’ any task.”
In his rare moments of spare time Ryan enjoys golf, woodworking and spending time with his family. He has been married to his wife Julie for 17 years and they have four children who he is privileged to be able to see at work: Breanna – 13, Derek – 11, Janelle – 9, and Allison – 7.
He was excited to share about some of the projects Immanuel Schools has going on now. “We are updating our metal shop and weight room, continuing to change the landscaping to the entrance to the school, adding approximately 10 TV’s around campus to use as informational devices for our students, changing our cafeteria to resemble a restaurant instead of the typical cafeteria, and adding another building to serve as the elementary office. We are also moving towards a one to one iPad program for the start of the 2013 school year. This means every student in grades 7-12 will need an iPad for school. We continue to strive to be a school that is in the front edge of curriculum changes and cutting-edge technology.”
They have also renovated the boy’s locker room, gym lobby, and baseball field. “We have seen an increase of our athletic teams success with the hire of some very good, young coaches,” continued Ryan. “We have witnessed a real sense of excitement for Immanuel and we feel we have a lot of momentum as we move forward.”
Kings River Life is happy to announce the addition of some Immanuel students to our staff. You will be seeing more Immanuel Schools articles during the rest of the school year.