Dr. Cindy Goodman to lead county schools

By Melonie Flomer

August 5, 2014

HAMLET — Richmond County’s school board elected Dr. Cindy Goodman as district superintendent in a unanimous vote Tuesday night.

Goodman’s hire came as no surprise to her or the Board of Education members. July 1 marked her first day as board-appointed interim superintendent following Dr. George Norris’ retirement.

With prior experience as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and human resources, Goodman found the transition to be a smooth one.

She is the wife of state Rep. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond, and has served in the Richmond and Scotland County school districts in several roles throughout her 29-year career in public education.

The board has been pleased with Goodman’s performance and looks forward to working with her, according to board member Jerry Ethridge.

As principal at Laurel Hill Elementary School in Scotland County, she led her school to earn a Blue Ribbon Award. The school was also mentioned in Davis Guggenheim’s documentary film “Waiting for Superman.”

Goodman claims none of the glory for herself. She said it was the teamwork from everyone that took Laurel Hill Elementary out of a lengthy stint of poor performance to one that achieved what the state recognizes as “high growth.” The new superintendent said one of the most important awards the school ever won was a Real Deal Award — one given to the schools that “…had the highest scores for teacher working conditions surveys.”

She said she wants this school system to be a happy bunch of folks, and that the team at the central office as well as the teachers in the classrooms have important roles to play in taking Richmond County Schools to the top.

“They just go above and beyond,” Goodman said of her colleagues in administration. “And I know our teachers do as well.”

Asked what teachers would say about her today, Goodman smiles.

“Open and accessible,” she said. “That’s what they’d say about me.”

Goodman will earn an annual salary of $144,000, prorated for the time she serves as superintendent. A swearing-in ceremony is set for noon Wednesday in the board room of the Richmond County Schools Administrative Offices in Hamlet.

The school board considered Goodman and another finalist, Dr. Rick W. Watkins, who Ethridge said was also well-qualified for the job.

“He actually had his information in at the very last date,” Ethridge said. “He’s a really nice guy, too. He worked for Richmond County Schools for a long time.”

Watkins worked for 27 years in the school district before accepting a position in Scotland County Schools. He later moved on to Wingate University, where he is currently an assistant professor in the graduate school of education. He was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-817-2673.