Published on February 25, 2022 by Leighton Doores  

Professor of teacher education Patti Wood has always worked on behalf of children with special needs. She spent the first part of her career as a speech-language pathologist and then spent eight years as a gifted education specialist, but she always knew there was something in her that wanted to teach. After 16 years of teaching at Samford, Wood will retire at the end of the semester. 

Wood was hired at Samford in 2006 to create a graduate program in Orlean Beeson School of Education that would train teachers in gifted education. The first cohort had 14 students and she served as the primary instructor and the faculty advisor for the program. Over the course of the program, nearly 200 students graduated.

During her time at Samford, Wood served on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for eight years and was chair for two different cycles. She was on the technology committee for years and was an early adopter of online teaching. She has served on and chaired numerous committees including nearly two dozen dissertation committees. She also helped develop other programs within the school including the instructional design and technology program and the online master’s degree in elementary education.

In addition to her work at Samford, Wood has served on the executive board with the Alabama Association for Gifted Children and has been active with the National Association for Gifted Children. This past year, she won the Lifetime Achievement Award in Gifted Education from the state association.

“The Lifetime Achievement Award was really the biggest surprise award and so gratifying and humbling to me in particular because a lot of the peers are people who are my students,” said Wood. “That they would honor me was really cool.”

Earlier in her career, Wood received the graduate student award at the University of Alabama when she was completing her doctoral work. She also received the dissertation award from the National Association for Gifted Children in 2006 and the dissertation award from the American Educational Research Association in 2007.

During her time at Samford, Wood says she has had opportunities that she might not have had otherwise.

“I think that one of the main things I’ve learned is that we have to keep pushing ourselves and look for opportunities to use our talent in a professional way, and to keep learning,” said Wood. “There’s a never-ending point to our learning.”

Wood has always enjoyed providing professional development to school districts on how to meet the needs of gifted learners and she plans to continue these efforts in retirement. She is also looking forward to spending time with her new grandson, gardening, volunteering in the community and traveling.

We invite you to join us in celebrating Dr. Patti Wood and her tremendous investments in the life of our Samford family by making a gift in her honor to the Orlean Beeson School of Education Legacy Scholarship. To make a gift in honor of Dr. Wood, please click here.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.