Highland Park Elementary is like a family for school counselor Wendy Oates.
Oates, who has been involved in teaching for better than three decades, including the 10 years at Woodward, considers Woodward Public Schools a home and the campus her school family.
“I am proud to be a Woodward Boomer,” said Oates, who works with first through fourth grade students. “My principal, Mrs. Burnett, is my inspiration. I admire her so much. I also admire our superintendent, Mr. Kyle Reynolds. He is always there for me anytime I need.
“Our community is full of kind and helping individuals. We have a mentoring program at our school, and our mentors come from our community and our high school students. We would not have the ability to change the lives of so many students without this valuable program.”
“As for our students, I can’t brag on them enough,” Oates added. “They are my pride and joy and I hope my passion for them makes their lives better as well.”
Teaching has been a family tradition for Oates.
“I wanted to become a teacher because my parents were both teachers and I saw teaching as my calling in life,” she said. “I still see teaching as my passion. My brother needed tutoring while in elementary school. As his younger sister, school came easy for me. So, I took it upon myself to help him. I taught him daily in the teaching corner of my room. He later thrived and holds a master’s degree in Elementary Math and Science.”
Kindness is what Oates leans on the most when it comes to being a counselor.
“I think the most important skill I teach my students is kindness and how it can change someone’s entire day,” she said. “I also teach them that kindness is free – they can spread that stuff anywhere.”
During her free time away from the school campus, Oates enjoys more family time.
“I love spending time with my family,” she said. “I have two sons, their wives, and my four grandchildren. I also have the joy of being able to see and love my Mama everyday since I moved her to Woodward from Texas after my Dad’s death. Being her daughter is my honor.”