Having his life’s work serve as a model to motivate individuals as well as a display to show that with hard work and perseverance one can overcome life’s adverse circumstances, has been one of the greatest passions of Dr. Phillip K. Woods, D.Ed. He grew up in a low-income, single-parent household in Linmar Terrace Ext.’s affordable housing community, located in Aliquippa, Pa., with his mother, Jolarraine Woods, siblings, Nicole and Timothy Woods, and close support of grandfather, Wayne O. Woods. He firmly believes that family involvement plays an integral part in one’s upbringing and success.
A graduate of Aliquippa High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Education, Dr. Woods began his career at Holy Family Institute as a teacher, counselor, and mentor. He was able to foster his passion for developing and educating underrepresented and underperforming students. In 2003, he was hired by Penn Hills School District, where he worked as a special education teacher, administrative assistant, and alternative school teacher. Dr. Woods obtained his Master’s Degree in Special Education and Principal Certification from Slippery Rock University and was promoted to vice-principal. In 2008, through his hard work and dedication, Dr. Woods was promoted to principal of Penn Hebron Elementary.
In 2011, Dr. Woods was appointed as the principal of West Mifflin Area High School. Under his leadership, the school was recognized by the Parent-Teacher Association as a School of Excellence for its efforts toward recognizing and celebrating diverse learners. In May of 2017, Woods graduated with his Doctorate in Administration and Leadership Studies.
After earning his doctorate degree, Dr. Woods created P.W. Diversity and Equity Resources LLC and was hired as the Equity Consultant for Gateway School District while continuing to serve as principal at West Mifflin. From 2017 to 2019, he coordinated professional development for administrators and staff that addressed disparities in the achievement gap and the excessive discipline of minority students and encouraged cultural sensitivity in the learning environment.
From 2018 to 2021, Dr. Woods served as the principal of Woodland Hills High School. During his tenure with Woodland Hills, he decreased violent offenses by 60 percent, worked to increase Advanced Placement course participation, coordinated dual enrollment opportunities, improved graduation rates, coordinated college and career initiatives for the District's Career Pathways, and created a positive school culture and climate. Dr. Woods became a cornerstone of the community as he worked to rebuild school and community relationships.
In July of 2021, Dr. Woods was appointed Superintendent of his alma mater, Aliquippa School District, where he will continue his efforts of working with the school and community to provide a high-quality educational experience for all students.
Throughout his career, Dr. Woods has been honored with a number of awards: the John S. Shropshire Graduate Scholarship for academic achievement, the IUP Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, the Carter G. Woodson Outstanding Graduate Student Award, the Dr. Walk Kealey Leadership Award sponsored by the PTA, Tried Stone Baptist Church Men of Excellence Award, the Men of Distinction Award, sponsored by the Women’s Achievement Club, the Classic Events Excellence in Education award, and the Francette Insurance Group, LLC’s “Love is Action Community Award.” Additionally, his work at Woodland Hills was a featured story, entitled Guiding Principle, in IUP’s alumni magazine, an international publication. Most recently Dr. Woods was selected as the Most Valuable Principal by the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation for his innovative approach to learning during Covid 19 and he was a 2021 Black Excellence in Education Awardee by the State of Black Learning organization of Pittsburgh.
Beyond his professional experience, Woods values his family and volunteer experiences. He formerly volunteered as a chairperson on the board of the Young, Gifted, and Black Programme (Y.G.B.) and served as a mentor for the Negro Emergency Education Drive (NEED). Currently, Dr. Woods holds the position of chairman on Duquesne University’s Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Board, is a member of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Black Experience Alumni Committee and the WPIAL Diversity Board, and is an adjunct professor at Carlow University.