SCS approves elementary return

Feb. 24—Dr. David Goodin, center, takes an oath to become the leader of Sampson County Schools. He is pictured with his wife, Michele, and Clerk of Court Chris Fann, who administered the oath.


Elementary school principals from Sampson County Schools are moving forward with plans to have four days of face-to-face instruction each week.

Starting Monday, March 15, all pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students will have an opportunity to attend school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The decision for the system known as Plan A was made during a Monday meeting for the district's Board of Education.

"I am excited," Vice Chair Sandra Carroll said. "For all concerned, students, teachers, and parents will make this work. Hopefully, teachers can get vaccinated soon."

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, students are learning through a format known as Plan B, where students are going to school for back-to-back days. When they're not in school buildings, remote learning is used for the rest of the week. At the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, the district used remote learning — Plan C. During the fall and winter, other groups were phased-in under Plan B.

Recommendations for elementary students to return for more than just two days week were made based on feedback from principals and COVID-19 numbers. Some of them included decreases in positive tests, hospitalizations for the school system, and statewide directives from the governor's office and what is allowed for public schools.

In early February, Gov. Roy Cooper and state leaders requested that districts get more students back in classrooms. To prepare, there are many actions to consider for Sampson Schools. Along with watching COVID-19 metrics, the district will also review vaccination opportunities, school staffing, and minimal social distancing in classrooms and buses. During a previous work session, one of the concerns mentioned by board members was the challenges educators face having to balance educate students online and in-person.

With about three weeks away from the Plan A start, officials will continue to clean and sanitize buildings, and order more food for daily meals. As of late February, middle and high schools will remain on a Plan B schedule.

Goodin takes oath

Dr. David Goodin was sworn in as the new superintendent of Sampson County Schools before a Monday board meeting. He was joined by his wife, Michele, who held the Bible. The oath was administered by Clerk of Court Chris Fann.

"I'm excited about being here," Goodin said after the meeting. "It's certainly a learning curve and things are done differently. I'm very pleased to be here and today was my first day. I thought it went very well and I look forward to working."

Goodin is filling a void left by Dr. Eric Bracy after being named the superintendent of Johnston County School in the summer. Up until the last meeting, Dr. Stewart Hobbs served as the interim leader. Goodin is now looking forward to leading the district through at least June 2023.

Before coming to Sampson Schools, Goodin served as the superintendent of the Spring-Ford Area School District in Pennsylvania — one of the largest districts in the Philadelphia suburbs Before that leadership role, he led the Connellsville Are School District in Connellsville, Pa., and the Harmony Area School District in Westover, Pa. He also spent time in assistant principal and principal positions at the middle school level.

Goodin earned a bachelor's degree in social studies from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's in history from Shippensburg University. He later received a doctorate degree in education administration and leadership from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Goodin and Michele have six children together, ranging in age from 19 to 32.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-592-8137. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.