No stranger to Ector County ISD, Jeff Woltz is in his rookie year in the district teaching geometry at Odessa High School.
Woltz was an adjunct math professor at Odessa College some years ago and had been president of the Education Foundation Board in 2019, which got him involved with teachers and administrators.
A Permian High School graduate, Woltz earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from University of Texas at Austin and a master’s of business administration in management from University of Texas Permian Basin.
He joined an oilfield-related company with his late father and some other partners 31 years ago and took over its operations about 20 years ago.
He said he learned electronics on his own.
We were always kind of a small company, but we’d been around for a long time.
“When the pandemic hit, it was after a crash in oil and gas prices … Things were just starting to recover from it and then the pandemic hit. That slowed everything down and then oil and gas collapsed,” Woltz said.
“I’ve been through a lot of busts and booms,” since the late 1980s, he added.
“… I just kind of got tired of the roller coaster. And so, I think I was ready to move into a new career.”
Woltz is part of the district’s Odessa Pathway to Teaching program. Candidates in the program are supported throughout their experience, from selection and preparation through their internship year and beyond.
Woltz said he’s always been interested in education.
“I just felt like this was something that I could do. I’m still green, but I think if every day I can feel better about management in my class and seeing students understand what I’m teaching and teaching the foundations of it so that they take that and spread out from there,” Woltz said.
He added that he tries to show students how geometry and algebra are seen and can be used in real life.
“Geometry, if you’re driving up and down the streets, that’s geometry right there. You know, perpendicular intersections. … We have some streets that are not perpendicular, but that’s still geometry. …,” he said.
He expressed thanks to Superintendent Scott Muri, Debbie Bynum, director of professional learning, and each of the advisors and trainers, Angela Romano, Randy Lightfoot and Christina Mason.
“Then also I have to thank Principal (Mauricio) Marquez here at Odessa High and also … Christopher Ortiz. They were the ones that interviewed me and they had confidence in me and were ready for me to join. Everyone I can thank, I definitely want to thank and all my colleagues that are math teachers. They’ve all been really willing to help in anything they can do to help me in order to make this a really good move,” Woltz said.
Marquez said they are happy to have Woltz on staff, especially because he can bring a real-world perspective to students.
“… It’s a great opportunity to engage kids,” Marquez said.
“I think he has a great opportunity to be a really good teacher. We’re certainly excited to have him at Odessa High,” he added.