When Scott Goldin was offered the job of assistant director at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, it was not only the culmination of nearly eight years of dedicated work as an educator, but also a moment he knew he wanted for a long time.
“I always had sort of envisioned myself as an administrator, especially at this school,” Goldin said. “In any place, I think, [moving to] administration you remove yourself from the classroom, but at this school I knew I could serve a great role … as an administrator here you still get to be so much a part of it.”
The teaching bug got hold of Goldin about nine years ago, when he struck up a conversation with former Charter School teacher Amy Reece, who said she had an opening for a temporary teaching assistant. Goldin then moved around the school, becoming a substitute teacher, a learning facilitator for the special education department, and then took positions as a math and as a science teacher.
One of Goldin’s proudest career moments was taking on an advisor role for students. Throughout the year, an advisor acts as a mentor of sorts, and meets with students to help them explore their interests and passions. “Taking on that role was sort of a special moment for me,” Goldin said.
Goldin is also a Vineyard Vision fellow, and helped implement a family composting program at the Charter School. His fellowship also allowed him to pursue a master’s of education at Lesley University.
Nine years after taking the job with Reece, Goldin is now the assistant director of the Charter School.
The youngest of three, Goldin grew up in Hingham and moved to the Vineyard when he was 18. After attending college at Boston University, Goldin began working with The Trustees of Reservations. He then went out west to volunteer with AmeriCorps, and worked with the Pacific Crest Trail Association to build trails. When Goldin came back to the Island, he worked at Mermaid Farm, Pilot Hill Farm, and Island Grown Initiative.
Goldin also learned a lot from former longtime Charter School director Bob Moore.
The new position has certainly come with its fair share of challenges. Goldin got the assistant director job offer in February — before masks and social distancing.
“As an administrator, there’s a lot of moving parts. And then the pandemic hit,” Goldin said. “That sort of altered the future for everyone … I knew there was going to be some mountains to climb.”
The Charter School only recently returned to in-person teaching, only for its K-1 students. Because the Charter School is a K-12 school and features teachers with different teaching styles, the job has required Goldin to do a lot of listening to his colleagues. “My hope was to bring a teacher’s mentality and a teacher’s understanding of the inner workings of a school, and what needs to happen for teachers to feel supported,” Goldin said.
In his new role, Goldin is excited about the school’s remote learning practices, but is also happy that small groups of older students are able to get some in-person teaching through expeditionary learning at Thimble Farm, Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Featherstone, and Slough Farm.
Goldin has also enjoyed working with Charter School Director Pete Steedman. “Each morning we have our 7 am chats out on the porch of the school,” Goldin said. “It’s been incredible to work with Pete.”
Not only is Goldin navigating a school through a pandemic, he’s also navigating parenthood with his wife Ava Castro. Goldin and Castro welcomed their daughter Wren into the world in August.
While Goldin does miss teaching, he said there aren’t many other places he’d rather be an administrator. “Here I still get to feel a part of it. I’m not a teacher anymore, but I still feel like I’m a part of fostering the growth of these kids,” He said. He also still gets to jump in to teach every now and then — like on Thursday, when a teacher who is also a volunteer firefighter was called out for duty, Goldin stepped in and was able to cover teaching a class.
One of Goldin’s favorite parts of his new job is finding solutions to problems for his students and their families as they navigate life during the pandemic. “I think that people are struggling right now,” Goldin said. “To field a call from a parent who is really struggling or even frustrated, I think finding solutions to those problems and trying to practice my greatest aim every day of empathy and grace … and help support students learn, even in this strange, new world.”