Northridge High School's new principal is a family man.
So much so that he will be commuting about an hour to Middlebury for the entire first year of his new job because he promised his daughter, a high school senior, that he wouldn't make her move.
Andrew "Drew" Wood, assistant principal at Fort Wayne Snider High School, was hired recently by Middlebury Community Schools to take over for retiring principal Gerald Rasler this fall.
He spoke with The Elkhart Truth on Monday, April 21, about his family, his interests and his plans for Northridge.
Q: What's your background?
Wood: "I've been a little bit of everything in the school corporation: teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal.
All of these jobs are about working with people. I'm interested in trying to build leaders. But no matter what we are doing, it ought to increase learning for students. If it’s not, we need to reevaluate what we are doing."
Wood has worked at Southwest Allen Community Schools and Monroe County Community Schools and he is completing work for his doctorate in educational leadership.
Q: What about your family?
Wood: "I have four great kids: three daughters, one graduating from college this spring, another graduating from high school, and a third daughter who is a senior at Homestead. We also have a 5-year-old little boy who will be in kindergarten. He is adopted.
I have a wife of 24 years; she’s an amazing teacher and a great mom. She is a music teacher."
Q: Why did you want to work at Northridge?
Wood: "My wife's family is from the Goshen area. We spend a lot of time in Shipshewana as a family, antiquing and things like that.
So I knew about the character of the community and I was drawn to that.
And everything on the job listing was attractive to me ... they were looking for a servant leader and that's what I strive to be."
Q: What do you plan to do at Northridge?
Wood: "I’m very excited about what’s going on with Northridge; they are a four-star school, an A school.
I’m looking mainly to take a lot of notes. I'm looking for who needs support and getting to know folks. I want to know what people are excited about and what they think needs to improve."
Q: What else do you want people to know about you?
Wood: "I just want to get the pulse of the community. I want to meet with anybody and everybody who wants to talk education."
Wood said his drive from Fort Wayne to Middlebury is only about an hour, and he wanted to reassure Northridge staff that he will be available "all the hours I need to be."
Middlebury Superintendent Jane Allen said that Wood has a positive attitude and a passion that's driven his success in education.
"He stresses that his goal is to lead his life with the attitude of serving others," Allen said in a statement last week.