Public Education is Fundamental to Democracy
Welcome to my official website. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about me, what my positions are and why I'm running for office. Thanks for visiting!
For 20 years I've been a voice for children, now I'd like to be your voice on the Utah State Board of Education.
I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. My emphasis was in teratology. I spent the early years of our marriage studying what chemicals caused fetal birth defects. As our 5 children grew, I chose to change my focus from protecting the unborn to protecting all children and families.
My husband Darren and I have lived in Kaysville, Utah for nearly 15 years. We moved from Anacortes, Washington in 2007 and could choose any place in the Wasatch front to live. We chose Kaysville knowing it would be an amazing place to raise our children.
As a lifelong Republican, I believe in the principles of family as the fundamental unit of society, that all children should have access to quality education, and limited taxation for government to perform essential public needs.
98% of Utah’s families choose to educate their children through public education. For nine years I have actively followed regulation and legislation while advocating for policies to help provide quality education to Utah’s children while at the same time being fiscally responsible.
I am a strong supporter of Public Education. I believe a fully funded public education system gives more children the opportunities they need to succeed. I believe in local control. I believe that the primary role of the legislature regarding education should be simply to fund it. General control and supervision should be left to the State School Board and all other decisions regarding curriculum and programs should be determined at the district and school level. I am a strong supporter of School Community Councils. I believe Charter Schools offer additional choices for unique learning opportunities for students. Our public education system needs five areas to be successful – family engagement, quality teachers, strong leadership, positive school climate, and strong standards and curriculum alignment.
Last year I completed an online certification through HarvardX on Family Engagement. I was fascinated to learn that, regardless of age, research shows, time and time again, that family engagement is the SINGLE most important factor for student success. It is the one factor that overcomes socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. Board policies need to engage parents in the education of their child. We must value the parent voice of ALL children and communicate thoroughly the "why" behind policies.
"Students whose families are engaged exhibit faster rates of literacy acquisition, earn higher grades and test scores, adapt better to school and attend more regularly, and graduate and go on to higher education."
"Research shows that teacher quality is the single most important school-based factor in student achievement."*
Utah teachers are our family, our community members, and our neighbors. Utah teachers need to be respected as experts in their field. Board policies need to build teacher capacity and empower teachers to meet the individual needs of students.
*Bryk, A. Sebring, P. Allensworth, A. Luppescu, S. & Easton, J. (2010) Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago, University of Chicago Press, pg 54.
"Leadership is second only to teaching among school-related influences on student success."* Utah administrators are responsible for the culture and climate within our schools. Their support for teachers and student learning creates a welcoming environment where children can thrive. Board policies need to help build strong leaders.
Manna, P., Paul Manna Professor of Government and Public Policy College of William & Mary. (2015). Developing Excellent School Principals to Advance Teaching and Learning: Considerations for State Policy . The Wallace Foundation.
Positive School Climate
"A student-centered learning climate supports student learning, development and well-being by providing safety, support, academic challenge, healthy meals, time and space to be active, and opportunities for social and emotional development."* Our children are in a crisis mode. It is critical that Board policies take into account the stress that our students, teachers and other school personnel have been through the last few years. Board policies must consider where a state-wide solution should be mandated and where flexibility needs to be given to our individual districts and schools. All policies must be considered through the lens of "How will this impact each of the children in our schools?" and "Are we creating a safe and inclusive school environment with this policy?"
The Utah State School Board has authority for setting standards for Utah's public education students. Standards are simply learning goals for what a student should know at the end of each grade. I have sat through hours and hours of standards setting processes as a parent representative for new science standards and as a parent observer in the Standards and Assessment Committee as Board Members approved new Health Standards. Utah's standard setting review is long and thorough, always involving input from parents, teachers, and community members throughout the process. I support the Utah Core Standards.
Volunteer & Work Experience
Utah Education Committees
-Accountability Redesigned Advisory Committee
-Assessment and Accountability Policy Advisory Committee
-State Assessment Parent Review Committee
-Utah Public Education Coalition Secretary
-Promise Partnership Regional Council
-Early Reading Network
-ESEA Committee of Practitioners
-School Fees Task Force
-Early Childhood Education and Services Work Group
-Uplift Family Education Advisory Committee
-Head Start Transition Summit Committee
-USBE Nominating and Recruiting Committee
-Graduation and Grading Task Force
Charter, Davis School District and Utah PTA Volunteer Positions
-Mountain Heights Academy Charter Trust Lands Council
-Davis High School Community Council
-Columbia Elementary School Community Council Chairperson
-Kaysville Junior High PTSA Legislative Appointee
-Utah PTA Legislative Advocacy Committee 2012-current
-Utah PTA Region 3 Associate Director 2014-2015
-Utah PTA Region 3 Director 2015-2016
-Utah PTA Education Commissioner 2016-2019
-Utah PTA Advocacy Vice President 2019-current
Boy Scouts of America
-Education Relations Subcommittee
-National Camp School Staff
-Baden-Powell University Staff
-Philmont Training Center Extravaganza Staff
-National Virtual Roundtable Committee
-Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner
-National Cub Scout Committee
-National Advancement Committee
-Island District Award of Merit
-Trapper Trails Council Silver Beaver Award
Utah Republican Party
-Davis County Delegate
-Utah State Delegate
School and Work Experience
-Harvard X Certificate, GSE4X: Introduction to Family Engagement in Education, 2021
-B.S. Zoology, Brigham Young University
-Research Assistant, Segment II --Development Toxicity Studies
-Day Camp Program Director, Trapper Trails Council
-Sales Associate, North Valley Scout Shop
-Teratology Techniques, Seegmiller & Wood
What Voters are saying ...
The following comments were shared personally or on public social media.
Governor Gary Herbert
I proudly endorse LeAnn Wood in her race for State School Board, District 4. We share a committment to parental involvement, local control of curriculum, and increased resources for schools. Her longtime advocacy with the Utah PTA has served Utah teachers, students, and families well and I know she will bring that same passion and expertise to the State School Board.
LeAnn Wood is a proven advocate of families and educators. Her policy understanding and breadth of relationships have prepared her to hit the ground running at USBE. She’s exactly the level-headed conservative we need at this time.
If elected as a member of the Utah State Board of Education, I am confident LeAnn Wood will place “students first”. I have seen this first hand while she served as member of the Davis High School Community Council.
LeAnn possesses the knowledge, experience, and leadership skills that will allow her to be an effective advocate for Utah students, parents, and educators. She has the emotional maturity and sincerity to rise above the commotion, currently existing in Utah schools and school communities.
Brooke Olsen Romney
I have watched LeAnn 4 Utah since I moved to Utah 9 years ago dedicate herself to promoting education for kids in the state of Utah.
She has spent countless hours volunteering her time, with no praise or fanfare and often doing the jobs no one else will volunteer for, in order to make curriculum and policies better and keep families informed about them.
In so many ways, she is what our political landscape is missing right now.
She reads, observes, researches and learns before she shares her thoughts and opinions. She is thoughtful and measured and has the experience to see all sides of an issue. She doesn’t jump on bandwagons and isn’t influenced by the passion of the moment. She has the experience and patience to see and do what is actually best.
She listens to concerns from everyone and values both personal experience and data. She wants more people to be involved and is willing to explain in simple terms what an issue is and why it matters so people feel comfortable coming to the table. She is genuine and respectful in her communication.
She looks for solutions. She is intelligent and experienced. She finds ways to accomplish complicated tasks. She wants what is best for ALL children in our education system and knows there are ways to bring people together. She has done this over and over again through the years.
She cares about everyone. She isn't in it for just her child or her family. She doesn't only want education to work for kids in wealthy areas or only in underserved areas. She doesn't just want parents to be happy but understands that we need to think of teachers and students too. She knows that the only way for public education to truly work is by having administrators, teachers, parents and students come together. She has an open mind and open eyes as she works to find common ground.
She lives in reality. She acknowledges the teacher shortage, problems with curriculum, where standards fall short, the kids who are being left behind and she cares and has been caring for years. You will never find her on a stage yelling about what gets people riled up, it’s just not who she is. But she is certainly passionate about education. She is calm and thoughtful. She knows the crisis we are in and is willing to do all she can to make changes for good.
LeAnn Wells Wood has never been about HER. She would much rather be behind the scenes, but when people begged her to throw her hat in the ring, she willingly did, because it is where she is needed. This is just who she is, and this the kind of person we WANT on the state school board.
If you want to learn more about her and her policies, check out her Facebook page. If you want a sign, let her know. If you have a few dollars to contribute to her campaign, it would be gratefully received. And if you have questions, she is ALWAYS willing to listen and try to find an answer.
My name is Amy Nielsen. I am a parent and I support LeAnn Wood for Utah State School Board District 4 because LeAnn is invested and informed. She knows the intricacies of the issues that impact our kids in public school, and she is committed to finding a positive way forward. LeAnn is not a one-issue candidate; she understands the challenges that face our schools are complex and multifaceted. I support LeAnn because she looks for solutions and leads with positivity. She is responsive and thoughtful. If elected, I know her leadership would hearken back to to what it means to be a “public servant” - willing to sacrifice time and energy in service to all, not just the few.
I had a chance to go to the Utah Republican Convention last Saturday (it is open to the public by the way, so everyone can check it out.)
On my way there I saw a billboard for a plumber that reminded me of my friend, LeAnn Wood, who is running for State School board. What does a plumber billboard have to do with the state school board?
Let's imagine you have a problematic leak. Indoor plumbing is super great until there is a problem, right? But if there is a problem you don't call in someone who can just shout and yell about how bad the problem is. You call in someone who knows plumbing. Someone who has put in the time to learn, done apprenticeships, has worked in the field and can fix it.
Similarly, LeAnn puts in the time and has the experience. I've had the opportunity to work with her over the last year, which really is a dream come true for me. She does her homework. She is incredibly smart and finds credible resources faster than anyone I know. She cares deeply about the issues that affect our children in education and wants more parents involved in the processes of school boards.
I'm pretty sure LeAnn never thought she was as great as the hard working, skilled plumbers out there, but she is! She isn't afraid of the hard work it takes to research the issues and do what's best for Utah kids!
I’m so grateful for a candidate I can support 100% without reservation. Please be informed this election and check out her website to learn more. The primaries are in June, which seems like next week.
Briawna Ange Hugh
If you live up in Davis School District, I couldn’t recommend LeAnn 4 Utah more highly. She is well-informed, level-headed, and motivated to advocate for all Utah public education students, their teachers, and their families.
Your legislative knowledge blows me away. Thank you for always knowing the details of the bills and for teaching people along the way. Leaders who help other become more informed are the best kind of leaders!
Utah friends and family, it is imperative that you make an informed decision about local and state school board candidates in the next election. In Davis, our school board just appointed an incredible leader as superintendent. I’m confident he will be appreciated and respected by all stakeholders. Unfortunately, even the best superintendent in the world isn’t enough. We need incredible local and state school boards as well.
You don’t have to agree with my opinion but please make sure your opinion is based on your own research. Actually read what they post on their sites and watch the videos they produce.
Kimberly Harris Wagner
I don't recall when I've felt the stakes in school board elections statewide were higher. We have some truly distinct visions among candidates of how our schools and teachers ought to be managed. If you live south of Layton in Davis County or in the northern part of Salt Lake County, please learn about LeAnn Wells Wood, who is running for the District 4 seat on the State Board of Education. She's a reasonable (I mean that as a high compliment) conservative with extensive volunteer involvement in community councils, the PTA, and over a dozen Utah school committees. Whoever wins in the Republican primary in June will serve in this position, as there are no challengers from other parties. If you agree that LeAnn is the best choice, please put her sign in your yard, make a donation, share her website on social media, etc.
Kathleen Anderson Whitelock
LeAnn will be such an asset, she understands education in Utah and loves children. LeAnn also has a good working relationship with the Utah legislature. She will work for children and families in an effective efficient way.
LeAnn will bring a thoughtful and measured approach. She listens to stakeholders and supports students.
Heidi J. Neville
The Supreme Court said, “Scholarship cannot flourish in an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust.” “Suspicion and distrust” is the exact right description for what’s occurring in today’s schools. School boards across the country have been co-opted by populist parent groups who have lost sight of the symbiotic relationship between schools and parents. Instead, some extreme parent groups truly believe that educators are conspiring together to hide some nefarious social engineering campaign to create a generation of mini-Marxists. Without doubt, there are examples of teachers across the country—and in Utah—who use their classroom as a personal soapbox, but by and large, Utah teachers are just trying to teach what they were hired to teach while helping kids navigate the growing pains of youth. We need candidates for State School Board who will restore the partnership between schools and parents, candidates who know and understand the real issues plaguing education (like how to foster family engagement, retain quality teachers, build strong leadership, and create positive school climate), and not candidates supported by those who spew angry rhetoric about CRT, DEI, SEL. These candidates have not done the leg work that LeAnn 4 Utah Wood and Cindy Davis have done to support the public education system. Let’s get parents involved in education in a way that helps and does not hurt public schools by voting at the primaries for reasonable, smart, candidates that are not beholden to these extremist groups.