One-on-One: Mrs. Woodard

She’s a math teacher who is doing exactly what she’s meant to do. But when Mrs. Woodard isn’t teaching, find out how she spends her free time. Welcome Mrs. Cecily Woodard as this week’s one-on-one interview.

Mrs. Woodard and her students

Mrs. Woodard and some of her students

Are you from Nashville, and if not, where are you from and how did you arrive here?

I am from Memphis originally. I came to Nashville in 2001 to go to graduate school at Vanderbilt University. I thought that I would return to Memphis after I earned my degree, but I met a wonderful man in December of 2001. In December of 2003, we got married so I decided to stay!

Tell us about your family — human, furry or otherwise.

I have two sons, Jonathan and Joseph. They are in fourth and first grades at Julia Green Elementary. My husband is Ron Woodard. He is the principal of Maplewood High School. I am the oldest of three girls. My two younger sisters and my parents live in Memphis. I have three nephews, two nieces and two brother-in-laws.

How long have you been teaching and what made you want to be a teacher?

This marks my 12th year teaching middle school math in Nashville. I became a teacher because I literally felt like I could change the world by teaching. I still believe that as a teacher I make an incredible impact on the lives of my students.

Tell us about the most memorable student you’ve ever had.

I had one student a few years ago who absolutely hated math. She never wasted an opportunity to tell me how much she despised the subject. By the end of the year, she not only changed her mind about math, but she had also decided that she wanted to be a math teacher. I will always remember her transformation!

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?

Every time I think about not being a teacher, I get a knot in the pit of my stomach. I feel called to teach. I really love what I get to do!
If I wasn’t a teacher though I would love to run a non-profit fitness studio for women. Women could come and take various exercise classes. They could bring their children who would enjoy special child care while they worked out. They could get delicious smoothies after class, and then come back the next day to do it all again. I think that it is so important as women that we make the time to take care of ourselves. All of this would be free to the women who come!

How do you enjoy spending your free time?

I love going to Zumba class and running. My Zumba class is full of energy. It feels like a party instead of a workout! I love running as well. I have run five half-marathons in the last seven years. My family also loves to run too. We do a 5k in Memphis on Labor Day to benefit Junior Achievement. We also love doing the Boulevard Bolt here in Nashville on Thanksgiving to benefit the homeless. You can also find me cheering on my sons, who play flag football in the spring and fall. I am in the Ph.D. program for mathematics education at MTSU, so many evenings and weekends I am reading and writing for class. On top of all of that I love doing liturgical dance at church.

What is your #1 goal for your students this year?

My #1 goal for my students is to help them to realize that if they can do math, they can do anything! My hope is that they would learn to face challenges and that lesson will help them to be prepared to accomplish their goals and face their fears!
Thanks, Mrs. Woodard. Want to get to know her better? Email her at