Goodwin to retire after 14 years as principal, 43 in MCPS

Students, staff, parents appreciate 'the heart and soul of the Whitman community'

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Goodwin to retire after 14 years as principal, 43 in MCPS

Principal Alan Goodwin is set to retire at the end of the school year. Photo by Annabelle Gordon.

Principal Alan Goodwin is set to retire at the end of the school year. Photo by Annabelle Gordon.

Principal Alan Goodwin is set to retire at the end of the school year. Photo by Annabelle Gordon.

Principal Alan Goodwin is set to retire at the end of the school year. Photo by Annabelle Gordon.

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Principal Alan Goodwin announced Monday, March 19, that he will retire at the end of the current school year. The decision took students and staff by surprise.

Goodwin said he made his decision to retire March 4, one day after the anniversary date of his first job with MCPS—as an English teacher at Springbrook High School. This year was his 43rd year working in MCPS and 19th at Whitman in administration, 14 of which he spent as Whitman’s principal.

His decision wasn’t motivated by a single factor or event, he said.

“One of my toughest decisions to make in doing this is that it’s been a tough year, but actually it’s what made me hesitate in leaving because the school has had some losses and for some students they’ll consider my departure a loss,” Goodwin said. “I didn’t want to contribute to that, but that could be the same story the next year and the next year.”

Throughout his tenure at Whitman, Goodwin touched students, staff and the community with his enthusiasm for learning. In a letter sent home with students March 19, he thanked each of these specific groups.

“It is truly bittersweet as I reflect on the opportunity I have had to serve as your principal,” he wrote in the letter. “The Whitman community is a wonderful and unique community, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the students, staff and families over the last 19 years.”

Assistant principal Kathy McHale, who has worked with Goodwin since he started at Whitman, admires his genuine empathy for his students and colleagues.

“He is probably one of the most understanding and kind MCPS leaders I’ve ever known,” McHale said. “You feel his heart every day when you walk into this building.”

Goodwin commonly refers to his students as his ‘kids,’ and upon hearing the news of his retirement, many were deeply saddened.

“It’s really sad to see him leave,” sophomore Meera Dahiya said. “He’s so supportive of us, especially this year.”

Goodwin also had very close relationships with his staff members. Some of his closest colleagues were surprised, yet understanding, when he told them his decision. Goodwin was especially appreciated for his open communication and easy-going personality, science teacher Melanie Hudock, who has taught at Whitman for 41 years, said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a student, a teacher, or a parent,” Hudock said. “He just has his open door policy. Anybody at any time can go talk to him.”

Many parents, especially those serving on various boards or booster clubs, had close relationships with Goodwin and appreciated his dedication to the Whitman community.

“I think that everyone is profoundly sad to learn this news,” Whitman High School Education Foundation president Alice Gallin-Dwyer (‘86) said. “He has been the heart and soul of the Whitman community for the many years he has been here.”

To appoint MCPS principals, a panel of about 20 local parents, staff and students typically interview four or five candidates and provide input, Goodwin said. He expects his replacement to be named by the end of April.
“There are going to be big shoes for somebody else to fill,” Gallin-Dwyer said.

When asked what she wanted in a new principal, Dahiya said, “Someone a lot like Goodwin.”

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