2020 A.O.Y. Finalist: LaTasha Goodall

LaTasha Goodall

Principal, University Prep Science & Math Middle School 

It's hard not to notice LaTasha's energy - whether you're standing next to her, or chatting virtually over a Zoom call. She carries that passion with her every day at UPSM, located in Midtown Detroit and serving students from across the Motor City and surrounding communities. Coining the theme "We are the Champs & Servants," Tasha ensures that every one of her students and team members knows that they are in this together, stepping into the ring of life, ready to overcome challenges and give back. Having worked for several years as a teacher in the University Prep system, her mantra is to never forget those roots - and to treat her educators as the professionals they are. That culture of constant improvement drives her teacher team to not only be high-performing, but also to step up for each other. Last year, UPSM's very own 8th grade science teacher, Joel Hockin, was named the 2019 MI Charter School Teacher of the Year, under Tasha's leadership. 

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Why are you proud to be a charter school educator?

We live true to what we say we are. Saying that we have small class sizes, innovative technology, a family atmosphere, etc. is not merely a talking point. We show up every day, ready to deliver on that. None of our kids get left behind - we know each and every one of them. We advocate for them, relentlessly. I couldn’t imagine being an educator in any other space.

How has your team adapted to distance learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?

Imagine being ripped from your family. That’s what it feels like for my team during this time. We had no idea when we dismissed our students for the first closure period that we wouldn’t see them the rest of the school year, that I wouldn’t be able to promote my eighth graders onto high school. So I told my educators - we have to be ready to fight, no matter how long this lasts. And I saw my staff leap into action, setting up virtual classrooms and making plans. As the days turned to weeks, one of our scholars lost his mother to COVID-19. Making that phone call, and knowing I couldn’t embrace him, was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. But no matter how, I know it’s our job to be there for them in any way we can.

More about LaTasha:

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Check out this collection of photos, submitted by Tasha, and get a peek into her life as an Admin! 

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Hear from Darcy Renaud (UPSM ELA Teacher), Joel Hockin, (UPSM Science Teacher & 2019 MI Charter Teacher of the Year), Mohamad Naim (UPSM Math Teacher) & Maggie Clover (UPSM Social Studies Teacher) on why Tasha is deserving of this Award! 

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