Goodhind promotes safe, fun learning environment
by Town Reminder
By William Pead
SOUTH HADLEY – The School Committee last week heard from the final two candidates for principal at Mosier Elementary School before making their choice of Paul Goodhind to fill the job.
Goodhind is currently the principal at Boylston Elementary School in Boylston, north of Worcester. With the withdrawal of Dr. Lynn M. Carey of Swanzey, N.H., interim superintendent of the Monadnock School District, the other candidate was Carla Lussier, principal at Talmadge Elementary School in Springfield.
It was clear by the extensive time afforded Goodhind by the School Committee during the interview that they were impressed by his philosophy and approach to education.
He told the panel he loves what he does, enjoys the job of principal, and “being around people who share the same values.”
In Boylston, he said, he brought leadership teams in to build trust, in establishing norms and building and maintaining a healthy school culture.
Goodhind said his main objective is to give kids a safe environment for learning, and to celebrate children. That is followed by a close look at what needs attention, and how that can be addressed.
By safety, he said both physical and psychological safety.
“That the children feel safe in the classroom to share their ideas, share their opinions, ask questions,” he said, adding that teachers can foster learning in school, and share their own opinions on how that can be done.
“Creative tension.” he said, “That’s how change occurs.”
Goodhind said, “Teachers are great people. They’re in education because they want to be. Because they love children.”
He also said celebrating children by doing fun, sometimes silly, things is a great educational tool.
“When the kids can see adults in a different light,” he said, positive things can happen.
He mentioned a fun race at his school in Boylston as an example, an event that has grown over the years to bring the school together. He said it all ties into “being safe, respectful, responsible.”
Goodhind said, “No school is perfect, but you want to have that atmosphere of … this is a fun place to be. The adults care about us. The adults care about each other. They want to be here. They want to be together, but they also want to have fun with the learning. And that makes all the difference in the world.”
Team building is another priority he cites in working with faculty at Mosier, including what he respectfully called “having difficult conversations” with parents or faculty.
Asked why he was interested in South Hadley, Goodhind said he has followed school superintendent Dr. Nicholas Young’s career, and notes the school system has an excellent reputation.
He’s examined the district’s initiatives and strategic plan. He also appreciated the warm reception he got during initial interviews, and he calls the challenge an opportunity to grow.
Goodhind succeeds Jill Pasquini-Torchia. who will assume new duties as the principal at the Plains Elementary School when it opens in its new building next year. Current Plains principal Jill Flanders will retire in June.