None of Scott Wood's five kids is still in school, but he still sits on the school board in Batesville, Ark., the small community where he owns two dealerships. It's his third term.
"I've been interested in education for a long time," says Wood, 60. "If it is good for the community, it is good for our dealership."
Wood's presence on the school board has made a huge difference to the community. He used his business acumen and his ability as a salesman to help engineer passage of a bond issue that fundamentally changed the way Batesville schools operate.
In 2003, the school board floated a bond to combine several old schools into one new building. It failed.
So Wood took the lead in asking the community what it wanted for its schools. Two years later, it floated an even larger bond to renovate the existing buildings and create magnet schools with concentrations in specific areas. It passed with 63 percent of the vote, Wood says.
Ted Hall was school superintendent when the bond passed. He has known Wood and bought cars from him for 30 years. Wood helped hire a consultant and a pollster to ensure the bond passed, Hall says.
"He has a business background and a people background," Hall says. "He used those skills very well."
Besides his work with schools, Wood also supports the local arts council and theater and the Boy Scouts. He was the 2010 Time Magazine Dealer of the Year.
Wood isn't finished trying to be an agent for change in the Batesville School District. Now he's working on raising teachers' pay.