Alumna Susan Goode '93 is so passionate about education that she started her own school. The privately run GlenOak Academy is about to start is inaugural academic year.
While the Anthropology/Cultural Studies grad spent 11 years teaching within the Greater Essex County and Peel District school boards, her passion for providing inclusive educational programming for students with special needs led her to providing services that weren't available elsewhere.
It all started while she was away from her regular school on maternity leave and began tutoring a student coping with brain injury. As a teacher who worked in special education contained classrooms, Goode was so impressed with the academic, family, and community support team that surrounded the student that she was inspired to investigate how similar programs might be created for other kids.
"At that point, I realized I could either stay working with the school board or take a risk," she recalls. "I decided the risk was worth it."
In 2008, she launched Goode Educational Services, a private educational consulting firm that offered private, in-home, one-to-one tutoring to students with special needs, including ABI (Acquired Brain Injury), ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and varying learning disabilities.
Goode’s extensive work in supporting the needs of students with ABI took her into sixteen different school boards across the province of Ontario, and into countless private schools and post-secondary institutions, both at the college and university levels.
These experiences were instrumental in Goode’s decision to open GlenOak Academy, and with it, a mission to fill a gap that she saw in the education system, particularly with students dealing with brain injury and complex special learning needs.
Her passion for holistic education is not limited to those with special needs, though. Goode sees GlenOak as a school where students of all abilities feel valued, and where all students can succeed.
As she prepares for the first year of her fledgling school, Goode's thoughts turn back to Trent -- as they do each September.
"The beginning of the academic year always causes for reflection on my own educational process," she notes. "I have a lot of fond memories of Trent -- of what a collaborative scene it was, of how we were encouraged to both participate but to also think outside the box. Trent taught me the importance of creating community and really valuing it."
So much so that her very first friend at Trent -- Jeanette McKay '93, whom Goode met on "move-in day" at Peter Robinson College -- was hired as Head Teacher for the Academy.
With the clock ticking down to opening day, they're excited to be bringing the concepts and values of a Trent education to a whole new generation of young students.