Faculty Profile – Alex Wood – Director of Transition Services | Franklin Academy

You are here

Faculty Profile – Alex Wood – Director of Transition Services

Without a doubt, the most important responsibility of Franklin Academy’s administration is the recruitment, training, and retention of a dedicated group of teachers. The school seeks veteran educators and young professionals who share a passion for serving students with learning differences. We value creativity and collaboration, abundant energy and high standards, compassion and commitment, flexibility, initiative, and, of course, a great sense of humor! While we will only consider candidates with solid preparation in a particular subject area, we place a priority on teachers who are able to deliver the school’s competency-based curriculum and who are eager to embrace the full life of this "round-the-clock" boarding school community. For these important reasons, I was delighted that Alex Wood, freshly graduated from Connecticut College, said yes when we offered him a position as Humanities Instructor in the spring of 2008. I hoped at the time that this talented rookie would give Franklin Academy at least three years of service – a minimum expectation whenever we hire a new teacher.

Ten years later, Alex Wood is one of our veterans, having grown in stature, experience, wisdom, and responsibility. Starting first as a classroom instructor and quickly ascending to Chair of the Humanities Department, Alex sought and secured a position as a Residential Dean. According to Melissa Wenz, our Educational Director, Alex has exhibited over the years "tremendous professional growth, both in terms of his understanding of children with diverse learning styles and needs as well as his ability to develop rapport with these students and their families. Much of his effectiveness is grounded in his desire and dedication to work with his students. Alex's conceptual skills are assets that help him understand and develop more sophisticated intervention strategies. His ability to keep individual students’ needs paramount, while balancing the needs of the community and program, characterizes his work. He displays a rare combination of intelligence, empathy, and humor. In staff relationships, Mr. Wood demonstrates sensitivity and a broad range of social skills."

As he comes down the homestretch of his first decade as an educator, Alex is about to finish his Master's Degree in Counseling from Post University. More importantly, in his new role as Director of Transition Services and FACTS (Franklin Academy College Transition Support), an initiative that he conceived and implemented with the blessing of our administrative team, Alex is providing a much needed, ground-breaking service to assist students and families making the shift from high school to college. In this work as "coach" for our alumni in college, Alex's caseload has grown over three years from one to three to ten students, and nineteen students are signed up for next year. Through a differentiated and scaffolded curriculum, these student receive encouragement and guidance to understand and advocate for support services, foster working relationships with college professionals, and learn the necessary skills to effectively problem-solve. Furthermore, Alex helps the students plan and prioritize academic tasks, identify appropriate resources for further guidance, and evaluate their own performance on a regular basis. Ultimately, the larger goal is to help these students realize personal growth, moving towards independence while gaining confidence in the ability to successfully navigate a collegiate environment.

One of our past parents, who is a new Franklin Academy trustee, wrote this testimonial: "I wanted you to know that we are so grateful for Alex Wood and the FACTS program. Without it I know that our daughter would not have made it through her first semester. This grateful mother went on to say that "clearly there is a pressing need for this kind of support for a large group of college students, so bravo to Franklin Academy and to Alex for his foresight and caring expertise. It has been a lifeline for all of us." As a result of this pioneer work, Alex is beginning to speak at conferences with a presentation titled, "Outside The Classroom: Using Independent Living, Executive Functioning, and Social and Emotional Skills to Help Determine College Placement."

In preparing to write this profile, I asked Alex to think about his work at our school and speculate about the future. Here is what he shared. "My tenure at Franklin Academy is largely rooted in the school’s mission. The combination of the school’s dedication to serving students with unique learning profiles and my opportunity to witness the academic and social success of our students remains inspiring. Additionally, the school has forged a culture of creativity for faculty, allowing us to create differentiated and individuated programs while always putting first the students’ needs. Truly, Franklin Academy is never dull. When I consider my career options, I want to focus on ensuring post-secondary success for students with learning, social, and emotional difficulties, offering a holistic set of services not available at college or elsewhere. “

Alex, thank you for your service and your aspirations.

All materials presented herein copyright ©2018—Franklin Academy. Site created by: Good Design, LLC