Goddard may have more meetings than a superhero, but she gets the job done


MK Kamara

Alumni Katerina Molina (left) and MK Kamara with principal Carol Goddard as they experienced a typical day in Goddard’s job.

MK Kamara and Katerina Molina

Guns. Secret passageways. Near death experiences. This is the typical day of principal Carol Goddard.

Or so we thought.

We spent an entire school day with Goddard, expecting to see a scene straight out of a James Bond movie.

If her day is like James Bond’s life though, then the movies don’t show all of the meetings he sits in.

Beginning her day, Goddard greets everyone walking into the building, whether it is staff or students, with a smile. Those who are a little on the later side, however, she greets with urgency, telling them to “hustle” to class.

She then heads into the office to perform her daily ritual of buying coffee from “The Coffee Mill,” which is run by the Learning for Independence program.  Goddard buys her daily coffee from these students because “It helps  them. [The teachers in charge of the program] make [the students] count the money. It gives them a sense of working in an actual coffee shop,” Goddard said.

Once she has her coffee, she begins checking her “bazillion” emails and her calendar to see what is on her agenda for the day. The day that we were with her was a little different from her usual days: Goddard was approached by the concerned mother of an autistic student, who said her child was being bullied for the way he was walking.

“There is just no way you do that,” Goddard said. “We [at Watkins Mill] need to become a lot more aware about students with disabilities as a school and how to treat them with respect.” On that note, Goddard is planning to have a town hall meeting with all of the ninth graders very soon. As Goddard reads over other emails from parents, she tries to resolve issues simply. “For me, it’s all about the win-win,” she explained.

Goddard later has her first of many meetings, with staff development teacher Kerrin Torres-Merriwether.  She meets with Torres-Merriwether every week to talk about Student Learning Objectives, training the staff, and what they can do to improve the school. “We were thinking about passing around a plush wolverine for teacher recognition,” Merriweather said.  “There will also be a peer-to-peer appreciation within the staff, where everyone gives someone of their choice a rose.”

Once they are finished, Goddard prepares for her next meeting with MCPS consulting principal Carole Goodman, which, sadly, we were not able to be present for. We do know, however, that the meeting was about the well-being of students.

At lunch, Goddard had yet another meeting, but this one did not have other staff involved–it had students. These students were accepted to be a part of the principal’s leadership program. They discussed different ways to make the school better, ranging from improving school spirit, to putting an end to discrimination, and just having everyone come together as a family.

“We always have to go for what’s good,” Goddard said on the topic of bad publicity towards the school. As the lunch period went on, students spoke to Goddard about what they felt was important and what needed to be changed.

As the day drew closer to an end, Goddard had one meeting that she looked forward to from the morning: a one-on-one with a student to talk about classes, credits and the future.

Her final meeting of the day was with her secretary, Susan Brown, and she began to sign checks.  She jokingly looked at us and said, “If I don’t sign these checks, ladies, nothing gets bought.”

Even though the day was very different from what we expected, there is one thing we learned without a doubt: That you don’t have to have weapons, or a near-death experience to save the day, in order to be a leader everyone can count on.

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