Be like Mrs. Goodwin

Last night I had the honor of speaking at our education foundation’s gala. The theme for the night was superheroes.

It has been a long time since I had pigtails and sat in a small chair in Mrs. Goodwin’s first-grade class. Although it is a distant memory, the way in which learning came alive in her classroom made her a life-long superhero in my book. We didn’t just learn measurements, but we took a trip to the beach (aka a small plastic swimming pool filled with sand in the back of the class) and used different utensils to practice measuring teaspoons, tablespoons… While this might seem trivial, for students living a day’s drive from the ocean, it was magical. You see that was Mrs. Goodwin’s superpower, she created opportunities for students to realize how much fun learning is.

Being in the district for almost five years, I have seen first hand that our district is full of Mrs. Goodwins, full of teachers who are superheroes. Educators pour their love and passion into students each day, but they can’t do this work fully without the help of others. In the same way as in the superhero world, we have the Avengers (or Justice League if you are team DC) because one superhero can’t do it all, our teachers rely on others for assistance. Over the past year Each of you has been a superhero for our students.

For example because of your superpowers and generosity….

  • Students who were going to have to walk into school the first day without any supplies did not have to face such embarrassment because you provided thousands of 

school supplies  for our students. All students were able to walk through our doors confidently as they embarked on a new year of learning.

  • Your superpower helped a little girl discover her own superpowers as she attended STEMfest. From hands-on experience in the field of engineering, she learned she had a love for an area she did not know previously existed.
  • We are fortunate to have a growing diverse student population. Through your superpowers, books were bought to make sure students could read stories and books with individuals who look and talk like them. Through these books, our students learned how their unique background is a superpower. 
  • Your superpower provided enrichment opportunities for some of the students with the biggest need. Joy is an understatement when talking about a little boy or girl who had never even seen golf, been on a golf course or touched a golf club learns to swing a golf club. 

It is remarkable to reflect on the work of our staff and students thanks to your investment… but if there has ever been a time we need all of our community to come together with each of our superpowers it is now. 

I was hired as the Director of Behavioral Health Services a month ago. This position came about because of a need in our district concerning the mental health needs of our students. This is not a unique need for Round Rock ISD… rates are rising across our nation and it is critical we all step up to help out students. We are currently seeing a generation of students experiencing record levels of stress and anxiety. 

When talking with one of our high school classes on mental health they were curious about the years I worked as a mental health counselor and the variety of diagnoses of clients. As I answered their question I then stated to them that all my previous clients had one thing in common. Someone asked if it was to be happy. I explained it was not to be happy… they all wanted to be understood and completely accepted for who they were at that moment. As I mentioned this to the students, I realized, this is what our students want, more like this is what they need and each of us has the ability to do this. It is not some magical power.

While the little girl in pigtails thought Mrs. Goodwin’s superpower was showing how learning is fun, this adult looks back and realizes Mrs. Goodwin’s biggest superpower was her love and acceptance of all her students. She modeled for me the best of this world through kindness, compassion, and humility. Staying in touch with her for 35 years has been a true gift for me. As we continue this evening don’t underestimate the impact of your superpowers. While some (we hope many) have the power of donating funds so our staff can fully live out their superpowers, don’t for one second forget the one superpower that is not only available but is needed more now than ever… and that is to follow in Mrs. Goodwin’s example and show others kindness, compassion, humility….because you never know when the next little girl in pigtails will grow up impacted by your superpower.