Kelly Ostrom upholds legacy of Todd Allen Phillips Center for Medical Sciences

photo Julia Grossman

Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the position for Center Director of the Godwin Center for Medical Sciences was left vacant.

This position remained open in respect for former Center Director Todd Phillips, who passed away in a car accident at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

Retiree Denise Williams, center director prior to Phillips, frequently visited the center during the 2016-2017 school year to guide the students with labs, research projects, and other inquiries.

Although Williams was able to donate her time, a permanent director was needed to continue the work that Phillips had begun in converting the focus of the center to medical sciences.

Therefore, Kelly Ostrom was hired for the position of center director beginning this year.

Ostrom taught at Varina High School for 20 years before transitioning to Godwin. At Varina, she taught Biology, Earth Science, and Oceanography.

However, Ostrom felt that it was time for a change. She already knew people in the Godwin area, and the search for a new director provided her with an opportunity for the transition.

The role of center director is to work directly with students as a mentor by offering them guidance and creating new opportunities to further the students’ education and experience.

“I wanted to do something beyond teaching,” said Ostrom.

Although the center was successfully changed last year to the Todd Allen Phillips Center for Medical Sciences and new classes such as Anatomy and Microbiology were introduced, many of Phillips’ visions and plans were put on hold.

Ostrom said the opportunity to follow in Phillips’ footsteps is a privilege.

“The legacy of Todd Phillips is present all around Godwin. His vision for the center, his personal connection with the faculty, and his impact on students are inspiring,” said Ostrom.

Ostrom is not only directing the center but also teaching Medical and Honors Biology.

Ostrom is enthusiastic about the mandatory center research projects that students submit to the Metro Richmond STEM Fair each year.

These projects require students to not only identify a relevant issue, but also devise an experiment that innovatively solves real-world problems.

Although Ostrom is looking forward to working with the research projects, she believes they will be one of her more challenging priorities since they typically span the majority of the first semester.

As anticipated, Ostrom has new plans for continuing to move the center forward.

Ostrom hopes to bring students opportunities for EMT and CPR certification as well as continue to connect them to challenging internships.

Principal Leigh Dunavant believes that Ostrom is the right fit for this position.

“She is kind, energetic, and a great leader. She will be able to carry on the vision of Todd Phillips, but add her own flare and ideas,” said Dunavant.

“I am excited about the things Ms. Dunavant and I are thinking about starting, and I am happy to be here,” said Ostrom.


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