Westchester Lower School Fourth Grade Teacher
Ms. Goodwin is pictured on the left alongside Director of Admissions Beth Foltman and Assistant Division Head Amanda Rathbun on Ms. Goodwin's final First Day of School at Windward.
For students and faculty at Westchester Lower School, hearing Viviane Goodwin’s spontaneous songs ringing out through the halls has been a common occurrence; though Ms. Goodwin would be the first to admit that she won’t be starring on Broadway in this lifetime.
Ms. Goodwin discovered teaching as a second career, returning to school in her early 40s to pursue her master’s degree and special education certification. She was taking a professional development course at The Windward School, and someone suggested that she apply for a teaching position. Nearly 22 years later, her relaxed yet structured approach to teaching her fourth-grade students has left an indelible impression on the Windward community.
Ms. Pochna, Westchester Lower School Division Head, reflected on Ms. Goodwin's legacy and shared, “You cannot walk into Viviane’s classroom without being immediately struck by the fact that you are watching a master teacher at work. Her programmatic expertise and the environment of mutual respect that she fosters shines through in every aspect of her teaching. She inspires her students to challenge themselves each and every day, and she gives them the tools they need to feel confident and achieve success."
Ms. Goodwin was known to approach her classes in a thoughtful manner, encouraging the students to have conversational discussions like book clubs. “More than anything, it’s not so much the knowledge that I’m [focusing on],” Ms. Goodwin noted. “It’s making [students] feel good about themselves, feeling comfortable taking risks, taking ownership of their learning.”
This view toward thinking critically has served Ms. Goodwin’s students well over the years, with many transitioning to mainstream schooling after being in her classroom. Ms. Goodwin explained, “I feel a responsibility to impart upon them as many skills as I can. I really believe in the writing program at Windward. You have to teach the basic skills and build a foundation from there.”
Her departure is bittersweet for colleagues who have grown accustomed to her positivity, infectious sense of humor, and unique outlook on life. Ms. Bauerle, a coordinator of language arts, added, “Viviane’s kept her colleagues laughing over the years. We will certainly miss her singing and laughter that brighten the Lower School hallways every day.”
As she moves on to her next chapter after retiring from Windward, Ms. Goodwin looks forward to getting to know her new granddaughter, as well as moving to a new home and traveling as much as possible. “We’re really looking forward to booking that first trip in October or May, or really any other month I wouldn’t have been able to during a school year,” she joked.