Reverend Dr. Osie Leon Wood, Jr. receives his inspiration from serving communities of need. He has dedicated much of his life and career to serving his family and assisting others in their pursuits of a richer and better life. In 2012, he achieved his lifelong dream of completing a doctoral degree in Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Over the past fifty years, Dr. Wood has served the communities of southern California as an educator, community activist, social program provider, college chaplain, and church pastor.
As an educator, Dr. Wood has served as the Assistant Dean of Instruction at Los Angeles Trade Tech College, the Trade and Industrial Division for Long Beach City College, the Director of the Education Opportunity Center at the University of California, Los Angles and the Director of the U.S. Office of Education Talent Search Program funded through the University of California, Los Angles. Dr. Wood also served as an educational counselor for returning Vietnam Veterans in the Veterans Upward Bound Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
As a pastor, Dr. Wood served as both pastor and director at Christian Outreach Appeal, in downtown Long Beach. In this capacity, he served homeless men, women and families in need of food, clothing and various items for living. He later founded a church, The North Long Beach Community Prayer Center, for inner-city residents. At this location, he implemented the community tutorial and arts program for neighborhood youth and in 2005, founded the Long Beach Freedom School, in cooperation with the National Children’s Defense Fund. The Long Beach Freedom School is the longest continuing Freedom School in California, serving inner-city youth.
In 2007, Dr. Wood accepted a position with the Claremont Graduate University, as director of the McNair Scholars Program. The McNair Scholars Program’s mission was to prepare low-income college students for successful acceptance to graduate schools throughout the United States. As a result of his community activities and research, Dr. Wood became aware of the vast educational gap that existed between African American boys and other ethnic groups. This inspired him to plan and implement the Long Beach Math Collaborative, which consisted of an educational partnership between The Claremont Graduate University School of Education, Harvey Mudd College, and the Long Beach Unified School District. The initial funding support for this project was donated by the Honda Corporation Foundation.
Though retired, Dr. Wood is still actively involved in the Long Beach community, where he resides and serves as President of the Board of Directors of Success in Challenges.