CHS Tiger Times reporter Emily Schrimsher recently sat down with Cohoes High School Principal Bryan Wood.
How many years have you been in education?
This is my 35th year. 25 years as a teacher, five years as an assistant principal and the other five as a principal.
What are your future goals for Cohoes High School?
One of my goals is to raise the graduation rate. Last year we had an 84 percent graduation rate, which was one of our highest. I would like to see it even go higher. I want to make sure we prepare our students for their future after high school. Whether they go to college, go into the military, or go into a career I want them to be ready. That’s a big goal of mine.
If you had to choose between mind reading and teleportation, which one would you choose and why?
I would like to be a mind reader, because then I would know what people are thinking and I would be able to interact with them a little bit better. If they were having a bad day or just not feeling very good that day, I could adjust my conversations to help them better, or just to know what the other person is thinking would be interesting.
What are your hobbies?
One of my hobbies is being a pilot. I like to fly airplanes and I currently belong to an aviation club on the weekends. I sometimes get into a plane and fly to different places. I also like to exercise and run.
How did you find out that you liked being a pilot?
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a pilot. It always intrigued me. I thought it was always pretty fascinating to be able to go up in the air, be able to get places quickly and to see the views. When I left my old job at Ravena, the teachers gave me a free flight as a going away present. So I went up and I loved it. I didn’t start my lessons for another two or three years. I was concentrating on my new job here at Cohoes and then I started taking my lessons. It took me eight months to get my pilot’s license. Then I got an instrument rating, where you can fly in bad weather. So that’s how I got into it.
What are the best/toughest parts of your job?
Best: This right now is the best part of my job! Working with students. I love to meet with students and I like popping into classrooms. I miss being in a classroom. I like going to athletic contests and going to dances. I just like to be around students when they are doing fun things.
Toughest: Sometimes I have to, unfortunately, make tough decisions and give students consequences for bad decisions. I don’t like to do that but I feel like every disciplinary situation is a learning opportunity for students. So sometimes I have to be the mean guy.
How would your family and friends describe you as a person?
I think they might describe me as somebody who is pretty easygoing, and somebody who is friendly and hardworking.
Who’s your inspiration and why?
My mother, who passed away seven or eight years ago. My mother was a single parent. She was a teacher and she worked two or three jobs to make sure that I was provided for. She tried to teach me what’s right from what’s wrong. She made sure I graduated from high school, made sure I went to college. She was very hard-working, and had her priorities straight.
What are some of your favorite childhood memories?
One of my fondest childhood memories is that, when I was very young, I learned to ski. I still love the ski. Every Saturday and Sunday morning I would get up early. My mother and my close friend and his family, we would be at the mountain skiing from sunup to sun down. Just really enjoyed being outdoors. Those were some of the best memories, except for the time when my friend and I were racing down a hill and I ended up in a ditch. I cut open my head and had 13 stitches.
What are some of your other favorite pastime activities?
I have always loved sports. I played all throughout high school. I liked to, and still like to, run, mountain bike, any outdoor activity.
What was your dream job before becoming a principal?
I wanted to be a pilot. If I couldn’t have been a principal, I would’ve loved to be a pilot. But being a principal is the best job that I have ever had. I love coming to work every day. I love working with the teachers and students in Cohoes. Those are some really good questions!