The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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June 19, 2024

Whitman library dedicated to Former Principal Alan Goodwin

During+Goodwin%E2%80%99s+time+at+Whitman%2C+the+community+faced+deaths+by+suicide%2C+illness+and+accident.+He+would+send+out+regular+emails+to+the+community+advising+against+drinking+parties+and+advocating+for+more+parental+involvement.
@RWDodd via Twitter
During Goodwin’s time at Whitman, the community faced deaths by suicide, illness and accident. He would send out regular emails to the community advising against drinking parties and advocating for more parental involvement.

Whitman administrators dedicated the Walt Whitman High School library to former principal Dr. Alan Goodwin during an open house ceremony, May 30.

Goodwin retired in 2018 after a 43-year career with MCPS, including 19 years in administration at Whitman, 14 of which he served as principal.

The dedication ceremony was open to all students, teachers, staff and community members, with snacks and refreshments provided. The Whitman Jazz Club offered ambient music, and Whitman Navigators organized the entrance by providing name tags and information. The Chamber Choir sang the Whitman alma mater to mark the beginning of the celebration.

Many people who supported Goodwin attended the event and some highlighted his kind character by sharing their experience working with him. Goodwin has an amazing reputation and is highly thought of in the Whitman community, World History teacher Thomas Young said.

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Community Superintendent Frank Stetson, who oversees Whitman and nearby schools, worked with the Board of Education to select a new leader for Whitman following the leave of the former principal in 2004, and among the candidates was Goodwin. Stetson explained that Goodwin’s strong connection to the community made him stand out.

“I knew him well from when he was assistant principal [at Pyle] because I worked closely with him,” Stetson said. “When the Whitman vacancy opened up, there was one obvious selection and that was going to be Dr. Goodwin.”

Goodwin stepped into the role where there had been just three former principals since Whitman opened in 1962. While Goodwin was able to maintain Whitman’s stellar academic status, he had felt the competitive culture was harmful to students and in 2004 he created the Whitman Stressbusters Committee to raise mental health awareness.

During Goodwin’s time at Whitman, the community faced deaths by suicide, illness and accident. He would send out regular emails to the community advising against drinking parties and advocating for more parental involvement. He held speeches and a candlelit vigil to honor lost students. He strongly advocated for safety improvements to keep the community together in times of need and inspire students to make the right decisions.

Substitute teacher Richard Butler began teaching with MCPS in 1984 and admired Goodwin’s ability to create change.

“He brought the community and the school closer together,” Butler said. “He continues a lot of the policies of his predecessors but adapted them to a different time period. Always being truthful, kind and understanding what other people’s positions on things are, yet not accepting them necessarily, but understanding.”

Assistant Principal Kristin Rudolph stated that Goodwin made a concerted effort to maintain close relationships with his staff and foster a community of trust and understanding.

During the ceremony, Rudolph highlighted the staff’s appreciation of Goodwin’s ability to create a comfortable working environment. During his tenure as principal, Goodwin prioritized ensuring that the staff felt safe and heard, Whitman community members said during the ceremony.

AP Government teacher Suzanne Johnson taught under Goodwin’s administration and developed a close relationship with him.

“He was a great person to work for,” Johnson said. “I think he really loved the community and the students, the staff, the families.”

Towards the end of the ceremony upon receiving the honorary plaque, Goodwin delivered a speech to guests highlighting the importance of allowing students to pursue their interests by supporting their needs.

“We need to continue to embrace our children and find slightly different ways of doing it because there’s so much possibility,” Goodwin said.

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