I met outgoing superintendent Melissa Goff in her office earlier this week for one final interview as she leaves Philomath for Albany. We covered a lot of ground in our conversation, most of which is reflected in the story in the July 3 edition.
A question that I’ve been asking retiring teachers and outgoing school board members is something along the lines of what will they remember most when they’re old and gray and sitting in a rocking chair with all of those memories rolling around in their heads.
It’s a bit of a corny question but I went ahead and posed it to Melissa about her four years at Philomath.
“What I’m going to remember most is pivoting to every student and that organizational shift change to think about really good is not good enough, that having most of our kids doing well in a system isn’t good enough,” she said.
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“We had this great opportunity to just look at a very small group of kids who we were not serving well and how do we pivot and adjust to serve them well and the staff has really taken on that challenge seriously from pre-K through 12 of how do we move differently so our design fits the needs of kids?
“Yeah, that for sure will be what I’ll remember and that’s what I hope is a legacy here. That’s what I hope continues when I’m old and gray.”
Exhausting the questions that I had for Melissa, I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to say about her time at Philomath. She thought for a few moments and responded with kind words about the people that helped her through difficult stretches.
“I think by far, I have received greater support from this community than I ever could have imagined,” she said. “I have seen people reach out in meaningful ways to me at moments that I really needed someone to reach out to me both personally and professionally, and that the overwhelming bent of Philomath is in support of kids in schools. … I observed that.”