Godwin teachers leaving the nest

The 2021-2022 school year has come to a close. Godwin will be saying goodbye to many teachers. 

Special education, social studies, and history teacher Jennifer Andrews will be retiring after 19 years at Godwin.

 Before coming to Godwin, Andrews taught various special education courses at Western Branch Middle School in Chesapeake. Before that, she had been a substitute, in-school suspension teacher, and history teacher.

“In Chesapeake City Schools, I was a substitute teacher, homebound teacher, and ESL tutor for six years before I started teaching full-time at Western Branch Middle School,” said Andrews.

Andrews enjoyed the time spent with all of her students. She has loved teaching earth and environmental science because they discuss worldly issues. 

“Students can have some very interesting questions. I love my government classes – I get to work with seniors I taught as freshmen and see how they have grown over their four years at Godwin,” said Andrews.

Along with teaching, Andrews sponsored the Interact Club from 2003 to about 2007 when it disbanded, and was a class sponsor for the Class of 2013.

Andrews earned her teaching endorsement in earth and space science, as well as history and social studies. 

“I will miss the daily interaction with my students, friends and coworkers.  You never know what you will learn from someone, and no two days are ever the same,” said Andrews.

Upon her retirement, Andrews will be traveling to Ireland with her husband and daughter.

Andrews offers some parting advice for her students: “Speak up for what you need and ask questions – don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself!  No one will think poorly of you for asking a question, and I guarantee that if you have a question, someone else does too!”

Andrews hopes to possibly substitute or tutor after retiring. 

Lisa Lovelace is leaving Godwin to teach at Varina High School so she can be closer to her young daughter.

Lovelace has been teaching at Godwin for two years. Before coming to Godwin, she taught at McGill University in Montreal, Canada as well as an elementary school in Trinidad and Tobago, where she lived until 2017.

Lovelace is a collaborative teacher, and teaches alongside other teachers.

Lovelace encourages students to remember that: “Reading is fundamental. Once you can read and understand you can achieve any goal you work towards. Reading is the foundation for all subjects.”

Samuel Vaughn will be leaving Godwin at the end of the 2022 school year. He will be returning to his original job at Henrico High School.

This was Vaughn’s first year at Godwin as an Art One and Two teacher.The highlight of Vaughn’s year at Godwin was all the meaningful conversations and life skills he shared with students. 

“The students have so much to say as long as you listen and respect them as people,” said Vaughn.

When asked what he will miss at Godwin, Vaughn says “I really love that there is an ice machine in the mail room. If it goes missing, you know who took it.”

Vaughn offers parting advice to his students: “Advocate for yourselves and make sure that your needs are heard and met, lead by example, and reach out to me if you need anything”.

English teacher John Reaves will also be leaving Godwin this year. He has been at Godwin for five years and will be leaving to pursue film and writing.

Reaves reflected on his day one at Godwin. 

“I wish I knew the incredible amount of work, time, and energy required to simply teach,” said Reaves.

In addition to teaching, Reaves was involved with the film club. 

“For a while, just before the pandemic, Film Club met a ton. When the pandemic hit, the Film Club pulled it together and we did screenings virtually really frequently, watching really cool world cinema. [It was a] special group,” said Reaves.

Although Reaves is leaving this year he hopes to still return to Godwin for games and performances.

Reaves offers a piece of life advice for his students: “Do your best to experience as much as life as possible, to go beyond your comfort zone, to be willing to ask questions at the beginning, to allow yourself to say “I don’t know” if it’s the truth.”

Another departing teacher is world history teacher Lizzie Hayes. Hayes has only been at Godwin for one year but taught at Hampton High School for three years prior. 

Hayes is leaving to spend time with her baby girl she will have this month.

Hayes reminds students to “Be kind to everyone!”

Godwin’s attendance secretary, Nancy Winston, will be leaving us after 11 years of hard work. Winston plans to travel and to still hopes substitute in the front office and the attendance office.

Winston offers advice for students: “Always keep your eyes on the prize. You can achieve anything if you want it badly enough.”

After a four year teaching career at Godwin, health and PE teacher Kevin Simonds will be moving schools to teach and coach at Freeman. 

“My sole motivation is to be with my family since my son will be a freshman there this fall and in two years my daughter will be there,” said Simonds.

Before coming to Godwin, Simonds taught for fourteen years at Fairfax High School, and two years at Herndon High School in Fairfax.

During Simond’s first year at Godwin, he was an Exceptional Education teacher. Simonds taught Algebra one with Miranda Watson and English with John Reaves.

“After that first year, I was hired to be the new Health and PE Department Chair. I have been the HPE Dept Chair for the past three years,” said Simonds.

The highlight of Simonds’ teaching career at Godwin has been graduation.

“Even though it happened to be during the Pandemic, I thought that the last two graduations at Richmond International Raceway were really neat and an opportunity not many have had the chance to experience.  I like NASCAR, so it was really cool for me to be on the track.” said Simonds

Simonds wants students to remember his favorite saying “Love people, use things….never switch the nouns.”

All of Godwins’ departing teachers will be greatly missed.

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