Six teachers leave the nest after years of influence
Godwin is known for its dedicated teachers, so farewells to favorites are often difficult for students and staff who have formed close friendships.
Spanish teacher Sharon Northrop has taught Spanish at Godwin for 15 years.
Although students will no longer see Northrop daily, they can expect to see her occasionally because she plans on helping at Godwin as a substitute teacher, mentor, and tutor.
Northrop also plans to travel with her two retired sisters; one in Australia and one in Fl.
Northrop said her favorite memories in Spanish classes are of students telling her they don’t want to speak in front of the class but then shine and speak comfortably once they prepare.
“I always tell students that they can do this…and they can!” said Northrop.
In return, students have taught Northrop to be patient, flexible, and kind when teaching.
“I am going to miss my family here at Godwin, but I am very excited to begin this new chapter in my life,” said Northrop.
Math teacher Vicki Hiner has taught almost all the math courses offered at Godwin over the course of 12 years.
Her favorite memory of those years was taking a group of students to NASA, and seeing NASA engineers come to Godwin to work with students.
Although Hiner will no longer be teaching at Godwin, she plans to continue exploring growth opportunities in another county.
“Godwin is a special place and I will miss the school. It is hard to leave but it is time I explore education through another avenue,” said Hiner.
However, she is enthusiastic to carry with her the lessons she has learned from students each day.
History teacher Will Kitchen has taught for almost 35 years total, and 16 of them were at Godwin.
Kitchen has taught Virginia and U.S. History and World History II.
In addition to teaching, he coached football for 32 years. At Godwin, he was the Assistant Varsity Football Coach for six years and the Varsity Head Coach for four years.
After the school year comes to a close, Kitchen plans to take some time to relax.
“I am going to sleep for a week and when I wake up, I am going to reinvent myself,” said Kitchen.
While teaching history, Kitchen has learned from students that if you want to be understood, you have to understand.
Kitchen said that he is privileged to have had the opportunity to teach and coach at Godwin and that it has been an honor to work with the students, faculty, and staff.
He said, “I am pleased to end my teaching career [at Godwin]. This place is a destination not a stepping stone.”
Librarian Darien Fisher-Duke worked at Godwin for 19 years and has taught students how to research while encouraging a love of reading.
Fisher-Duke will be participating in the Henrico Prep program in which she will work at different libraries around the county as a substitute librarian, so students may continue to see her at Godwin occasionally.
Additionally, she plans to play with her three grandchildren more and spend time at the gym and biking.
From teaching at Godwin, Fisher-Duke has learned not to make any assumptions and to treat each individual with respect.
She encourages students to seek a profession where they will love what they do every day and make a contribution.
“My favorite memories are the things that made me laugh at the time, and still make me laugh when I think of them,” she said.
Physical Education teacher William Winston has taught at Godwin for four years. Two years were spent teaching Health and P.E. and two years in Driver’s Education.
Next school year, Winston will teach middle school Health and P.E. in Gaston County, North Carolina where he will also serve as the school’s athletic director.
Winston’s favorite memory in Driver’s Education is teaching parallel parking.
“Seeing students succeed and the pure excitement on their face after doing something new for the first time brings me a lot of joy,” said Winston.
Winston believes that he has grown as a teacher while teaching at Godwin.
“I’ve learned that my students have a lot of experiences that bring great value to the classroom and often bring a different perspective,” said Winston.
Winston said that he will miss Godwin greatly, and he will miss the bonds of working closely with the faculty and students. He originally believed that Godwin would be the place where he would retire.
“However, sometimes life changes and while change is hard for most, I’m excited to see what the next chapter in life brings,” said Winston.
Winston has enjoyed teaching in the Health and P.E. department which he believes is top-notch, and he has also enjoyed coaching football and track while forming solid relationships.
He said, “Godwin will always hold a special place in my heart and I’ll continue to follow all the happenings that go on when I’m gone.”
Math teacher Thomas Hoy is retiring after teaching at Godwin for 37 years.
Hoy has taught every math course except for statistics and calculus. His favorite memories from his many years at Godwin includes teaching his five children in his trigonometry class.
Following his full career, Hoy plans to travel and relax. Hoy has taught many lessons to many students. However, students taught him an important lesson as well.
“You learn something new almost every day,” said Hoy.
Although his teaching days will soon be over, he wants to remind students not to “take any wooden nickels”.
These teachers are not finished with their jobs at Godwin yet. They would like to leave students with some last words of wisdom and advice.
“To our language students, know that you are able to succeed in learning and producing a foreign language,” said Northrop.
“Smart people know there is a lot they do not know but they know to ASK! Learning comes from true questioning,” said Hiner.
“I hope you would live life in the following way: be inquisitive, be accountable, take the initiative, take responsibility, be humble, and don’t assess blame,” said Kitchen.
Fisher-Duke said, “There are many times in life when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Choose laughter.”
Winston wants to remind students to enjoy youth and not rush through life too fast.
Winston said, “Stay involved and try new things. Join new clubs, activities, and sports. Don’t relegate yourself to being a ‘one-sport’ athlete.”
Hoy would like to leave students with one final message.
“High school is just one step on the journey.”