AISA Hall of Fame adds two from Morgan Academy

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

By Mary Stewart | The Selma Times-Journal

Terri Austin and George Wood have earned spots in the Alabama Independent School Association Hall of Fame due to their impact on Morgan Academy.

Austin, who moved to Selma when she was four years old, said she has always considered Selma her home.

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She explained her struggle to find a job in town that would hire a first-year teacher.

“Morgan was willing to give me a chance,” Austin said.

This chance has more than paid off as Austin has been teaching at the school for 36 years now.

Austin’s love for teaching has not faded in the slightest over the years.

She said her passion for teaching comes from the children.

“It’s just being around kids. I feel like the Lord’s put me there to teach them and watch them grow,” Austin said.

Austin’s support comes from her family who generously allows her to ‘live at the school’ during a majority of the year, she said.

She also said that her fellow faculty members have contributed in making her the teacher she is today.

“I’m just very humbled,” she said. “A part of me goes ‘why me, why do I even deserve this,’ but then I think the Lord, you know, if we do our best for him, then he will bless you in the most surprising ways.”

Austin is not the only one excited, as Tim Wood, son of honoree George Wood, said that his father is very excited about receiving the honor.

“He’s 94 years old, and he still asks, ‘How’s the school doing?’” Tim Wood said. “He takes a lot of pride in what they did originally, and the successes since the inception have been fantastic.”

George Wood was on the original board that put the school together more than 50 years ago.

Tim Wood was in the first first-grade class to go all the way through the school.

He was followed by two generations of George Wood’s relatives, who also graduated from Morgan.

“Dad did whatever it took to educate his kids. He sacrificed,” Tim Wood said. “He was committed to his family and to raising his kids the best possible way he could.”

Wood explained that his father has always been a role model to him, and that he couldn’t be more excited for him to receive this honor.

“You can’t help but be proud,” he said. “It is something that is unexpected, to be 94 and be recognized is an honor.”

His father not only worked on the planning side of the beginning of the school, but he also put in hours amongst hours of physical work to get the school ready to open.

“What is great is being recognized for doing something that you were looking for no recognition what so ever. You do it because it was a passion,” Tim Wood said. “It was something that he believed in, and he sacrificed many hours of work just because he cared about the school, not for recognition purposes.”

Both Terri Austin and George Wood will be honored at a banquet in the fall and will be added to the long list of honorees before them.