Megan Goodhand is not a merchant, but she is certainly an integral part of our vibrant Ninth Street community. As principal of E.K. Powe Elementary, Goodhand is continuing a tradition of student involvement in this community that goes back to the school’s founding in 1912 (as West Durham Graded School). E.K. Powe children and their families have a history of frequenting Ninth Street businesses (in the 1940’s, Scarboro Grocery, housed in the building where Monuts is today, was a popular stop for school children) and E.K. Powe teachers often build the community into their lessons. In their Social Studies “Town Unit,” for example, teachers take their students on field trips to visit local Ninth Street merchants who talk to the students about running a business.
Speaking of history, Principal Goodhand has an impressive one when it comes to education. She became passionate about serving children as a teenager after working at a New York camp for children with special needs. After teaching in small ratio groups with deaf and hard-of hearing-children, she transitioned into classroom teaching. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classes for twenty-five years (ten of them at Powe) before earning her leadership degree, interning at Sandy Ridge Elementary, and then returning to E.K. Powe as Assistant Principal and then Principal, a role she has been enjoying for the past three years. Goodhand is proud to be a part of the E.K. Powe community of parents, teachers, and students, a community she describes as vocal, diverse, and involved. Early in her role as principal, Goodhand implemented an Equity Team and is proud of the teachers who are working hard to make room for different perspectives and voices and to make education accessible for all children. Currently, this includes projects like providing literature for and about people of color as well as working with community leaders like Rhonda Bullock of weare (working to extend anti-racist education). Powe also has a community school coordinator who is working on creating more opportunities for parents of color to make their voices heard within the school community.
If you ask Goodhand her favorite thing about being a principal, she’ll probably answer the same way many of her teachers will: it’s the kids. Goodhand has always been very kid-centered and her staff is dedicated to teaching the whole child by focusing on each student’s emotional and social needs in addition to their intellectual ones. One of the great things about working with kids, Goodhand says, is that they teach us that we’re growing, too. “I’m growing as much as the kids, each time I step inside the building,” she says. Goodhand really believes that learning needs to be authentic, and that focus on authenticity is apparent in her character: she loves children, has compassion for families and teachers alike, and speaks highly of her staff, who she clearly admires and appreciates. Coming into a leadership role after a solid background in teaching means Goodhand knows and understands the challenges her teachers face, and she works with her teachers to meet those challenges.
As a community school, E.K. Powe provides service-learning opportunities for the kids, including a weekly cooking club that delivers hot meals to the kitchen at Urban Ministries. The school also hosts community events like the Spring Carnival and the school community members enjoy the interaction with merchants on Ninth Street and the residents of the West End neighborhood. “We’re very lucky to be on Ninth Street,” Goodhand says. We’re glad that she feels that way, because Ninth Street is lucky to have her and the entire E.K. Powe community.
When Principal Goodhand is not in principal mode, you may find her:
Running for both her physical and mental health — running is a time when she likes to do a lot of problem solving.
Spending time with her three wonderful daughters, all of whom live right here in Durham.
Cozying up at The Regulator with one of her favorite books, like King & King by Linda de Haan, a beautifully illustrated children’s tale about lonely Prince Bertie who rejects five fairy-tale princesses and finally finds happiness when he marries the handsome prince.