Celebrating Elizabeth Goodman: Longtime Board Member & Primary Source Supporter

21 January 2015

Elizabeth GoodmanSometimes timing is everything. Elizabeth Goodman first heard about Primary Source and its global programming as a high school housemaster in the mid-1990s. But it wasn't until years later when she was Director of Curriculum & Instruction for Canton Public Schools that she had the opportunity to act on it. "When Primary Source contacted me about a partnership to bring global professional development to our educators, I jumped at the chance to make it a priority in our district," said Elizabeth. We spoke with Elizabeth about her relationship with Primary Source over the years and what drives her continued support.

Tell us about your first impressions of Primary Source and why partnership became a top priority for you.
It was clear to me that Primary Source was doing what no other organization at the time could do. They were improving teachers' knowledge base in areas which they hadn't previously studied and in which they lacked the curriculum resources to effectively teach. In doing so, Primary Source was increasing teachers' confidence around topics that were complex and emotional, and yet very necessary. I saw potential not only in the history and social studies curriculum but also for foreign languages, science, and the arts. What an opportunity to make important global connections across our entire district!

Did personal experience play a role here?
Absolutely! In my early years as a teacher, my classrooms included a diverse mix of students from Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Iran, China, and Honduras. While the situations in those countries were strongly debated in the news, I didn’t feel comfortable leading discussions around such potentially emotional topics. For me, this concern went beyond multicultural relations and became more about better understanding the history and culture of these places. After 9/11, I witnessed firsthand the thoughtfulness and sensitivity with which Primary Source handled topics such as the Middle East. I would have truly benefited from Primary Source during my days as an educator.

As a longtime supporter, has it been exciting to see the organization grow and develop?
Watching the organization expand its online program offerings has definitely been a highlight. These online courses are exquisite in both content and resources. The depth of discussion in a Primary Source online course, compared to others I’ve taken, speaks volumes about what Primary Source demands of teachers, and how teachers themselves desire to improve their own knowledge.

What drives your continued support of Primary Source?
After I retired in 2004, it was an honor to serve on the Primary Source Board of Directors for eight years, and help support both the organization’s internal programs as well as its public program offerings in the community. My relationship with the organization first as a district partner, then as a Board member and now as Board emeritus, has given me great pleasure over the years. While I was planning my annual giving, I came across a recent Primary Source course catalog. I was struck not only by the richness, breadth and depth of each course offering, but their intelligence and importance. So when I'm asked why I continue to give to Primary Source, my answer is simple: how could I NOT support this?




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