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Teacher: ‘I believe all children can learn’

Candice Goodwin reaches out to all students regardless of their abilities because she believes all children are capable of learning and growing.

The fifth grade Warrenton Elementary Teacher of the Year is vying for the chance to be named the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year.

Goodwin enjoys watching her student learn, and she said they get this look in their eyes when they have made a connection, which is her favorite part of being an educator.

“Basically (its) that ah-ha moment,” she said.

Her most moving educational experience has been with her 4-year-old autistic son Kyron. Goodwin said her background in education has made it so she can help him, and he drives her to be there for all students no matter their abilities.

“I, along with his teachers, have worked diligently. His condition pushes me to break through barriers. He is my most moving educational experience, and I’m blessed to not only be his mom but his teacher as well,” she said. “I believe all children can learn, and all children can grow.”

In order to help students in every way she can, Goodwin gives extra instruction multiple times a week to students who have fallen behind, and she has students tutor their peers in the mornings.

“Because of these measures, Star Math scores are steadily increasing. As of now, I have 71 percent of student at or above grade level,” she said.

Goodwin connects her students to the real world by teaching them lessons that will come in handy when they are older. One way she does this is by teaching students to add, subtract, multiply and divide decimals because it helps students learn how to calculate sales tax.

Another defining lesson Goodwin said she teaches is on diversity in America. The social studies lesson teaches students that people from all over the world assimilated in the United States to form the country. Students then research an ethnicity and create posters on what they learned.

“Along with this lesson, we talk about culture, ethnic groups and unity,” she said. “Through this lesson, my students see how important it is to respect each individual.”

Goodwin received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Alcorn State University and a master’s degree in public health from Jackson State University. Once done with school, she chose to stay in Vicksburg because her mother was ill.

“Life did a 180 so I had to make a U-turn,” Goodwin said.

She took a job as a long-term substitute because she had trouble finding work in her chosen field. The substitute position eventually turned into a two-year teacher assistant position at Sherman Avenue Elementary. She then passed her teaching tests, and got a job as a teacher at Warren Central Intermediate — where she taught for three years. Now, Goodwin has been at Warrenton for two years.

“I teach because I believe in helping each child achieve their greatness,” she said.

Goodwin is the grade level chair at Warrenton, is on the Leader in Me Lighthouse Team and the Leadership Team.

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha and the Mississippi Association of Educators. Her husband is Forris Goodwin.

Twenty-one teachers in Warren County were nominated for teacher of the year. The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce has selected a panel of educators to interview each school’s chosen teacher and will choose one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year on Feb. 15. Both teachers will receive $1,000.

Today’s story is the 20th in a series of articles on each teacher up for the honor of the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year.