SARASOTA (WWSB) - ABC7 is teaming up with Gettel Automotive to celebrate teachers in our community – we’re calling them Chalkboard Champions.
We ask the community to nominate a teacher and then we select two winners for Sarasota and Manatee County each month.
This month’s Sarasota County Chalkboard Champion comes to us from right in the heart of downtown Sarasota.
ABC7′s Jacqueline Matter takes us to Sarasota Military Academy to meet physics teacher, Captain Daniel Goodman.
The Sarasota Military Academy isn’t your normal high school and Captain Daniel Goodman isn’t your normal physics teacher.
“Captain Goodman’s name comes across our dining room table at dinner as one of those teachers that gives you a big challenge but really encourages my son," said Beth Trent, the mother who nominated Goodman for this month’s award.
After nearly two decades working with NASA in Huntsville, Alabama and a stint with the military working on missile defense projects, Capt. Goodman found himself in Sarasota, Florida teaching younger generations.
“My whole teaching methodology is based on the reality of life that I have lived," said Capt. Goodman.
A life that was never handed to him.
In fact, many students and parents say he’s known as a “tough” teacher.
“There’s a lot of homework, a lot of accountability, he doesn’t play favorites and he makes sure our students are, once they’re out of school, they’re employable," said Trent.
The former rocket scientist says the classes he teaches, including physics and computer science, require that “tough love” teaching.
“They require analytical thinking, they require discovery, so that means inherently you don’t know what you’re doing when you get into it and there’s not going to be anybody who can tell you how to do it," said Capt. Goodman.
As we interview Capt. Goodman he stands in front of pictures of the first project he ever worked on at NASA, the Saturn 5 rocket used during the Apollo missions.
“When we were on the Apollo program the actual motto during that was that, “Everybody knows that nobody knows how to do this.” "It’s never been done before, Capt. Goodman continued to say.
"You couldn’t go anywhere to find out how to do anything because it hadn’t been done before. That’s the reality of life so that’s the way I teach.”
A reality that has many of us remembering those teachers that inspire us.
“Capt. Goodman is one of those teachers, 20, 30 years from now my son will be sharing with his kids the teachers that really encouraged him and made a difference was Capt. Goodman," said Trent.
With his experience and ability to shape younger minds, Capt. Goodman says teaching has become one of the greatest gifts life has given him.
“That’s actually the greatest benefit of this whole job. As long as I keep getting that kind of feedback I’m staying here," said Capt. Goodman.
He says he plans to use the 500 dollars he won to invest in new 3D printers for a new computer design class he will be teaching at SMA next year.
If you’re interested in nominating a teacher from Sarasota or Manatee County, click here.