Director of Educational Leadership, Georgetown College, KY

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Gregory Goins, Director of Educational Leadership

Meet Georgetown College’s Director of Educational Leadership, Dr. Greg Goins, an experienced educator of more than 25 years, who trains administrators and superintendents.

What programs do you teach at Georgetown College? What drew you to these fields of study? What keeps you excited about them?

As the Director of Educational Leadership, I’m responsible for all facets of the program, including teaching, advising, and supervising high-quality field experience opportunities. My primary teaching responsibilities are in our Level II Principal Program and within our new Superintendent Program launched in Fall 2020.

My research interests include:

  • Education reform
  • Leading school district change
  • School climate
  • Culture and digital leadership

These are competencies that all aspiring principals should master to help educators navigate the ever-changing world of technology.

Georgetown College is one of the few Educational Leadership Programs to offer a dedicated course for technology leadership (EDA 610: Planning and Management of Technology in Schools for School Leaders), and I take great pride in teaching that course each summer to help candidates understand the role the principal plays in web-based curriculum design.

I’m most excited about the Kentucky Department of Education’s newest initiative around deeper learning, as PreK-12 school districts will have grant funding available for students to experience real-world learning. The recent push toward more project-based learning is also a big step in the right direction as school districts continue to “reimagine” schools for 21st-century success.

How will your programs better prepare/equip educators for the current climate they are facing? How will they help them tackle the challenges of COVID and post-COVID teaching?

Kentucky is facing a massive teacher shortage in PreK-12 education, but we also see a significant turnover in school administration positions due to the extra pressure points created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone in schools. We need innovative leaders now more than ever who can work collaboratively with school and community stakeholders to solve many big issues that were exposed during the global pandemic.

I think one of the biggest lessons learned from the pandemic is that we need to help students become more self-directed and take ownership of their learning. The classroom teacher will always play a vital role in the learning process. Still, students must also be intrinsically motivated to follow their interests and passions to become active learners.

I try to model that approach in the courses that I teach by giving students more responsibility for not only what they learn, but how they learn, so it’s not uncommon for students in my class to lead book studies, small groups, or committees in their respective schools. I also like to give students some choice in their learning to have more flexibility in how they want to dive into course content.

They typically have an option to expand their learning by becoming creators, so you’ll see students in my courses creating their own podcasts, videos, or websites to apply skills to real-time problem-solving in their schools. Then, they can apply that same approach to their own classrooms or help other teachers find different pathways to challenge students.

What attracted you to teach at Georgetown College? What sets them apart?

I’m a Southern Illinois native and made the move to Georgetown with my wife, Raetta, in 2017. She also works in higher education as a program advisor/learning specialist at the University of Kentucky.

We fell in love instantly with Georgetown, Kentucky’s southern charm, hospitality, and the campus community. Georgetown has become our second home. It’s a special place, and we truly feel that God has blessed us with the opportunity to live and work in Georgetown, Kentucky.

What sets Georgetown College apart from other higher education institutions is that our smaller size allows us to build personal relationships with students who know they can reach out at any time. I get phone calls, text messages, and questions on social media regularly from both current students and alumni, who continue to network and share big ideas with each other.

As an Education Department, we are also very hands-on, so we spend one-on-one time with students on everything from test preparation for state certification to helping with the job search upon graduation. We’re a “one-stop-shop,” and our relationships with students don’t end at the time of completion as we continue to provide coaching and support for our alumni.

It’s one thing to have academic knowledge about the field, but it’s a game-changer when you can receive instruction from those that have worked in school districts in high-level administrative positions. There’s no substitute for experience, and we hire the very best instructors to help you hit the ground running as you accept your first administrative position.

We also are sympathetic to the fact that educators have a lot on their plate and are very busy with their jobs. We think we have the perfect solution as our online program provides an opportunity to learn from home in a self-paced structure. This is a win-win situation for busy teachers.

What is your professional background as an educator? Why did you become interested in education?

This is my fifth year at Georgetown College after serving more than 25 years in Illinois as a teacher, coach, building principal, and school district superintendent.

During my 15 years as a school superintendent, my favorite part was serving as a coach and mentor to principals in my district, especially those first-year administrators who needed some extra time and attention to grow into the job. That experience led me to an opportunity to work as an Adjunct Professor in an Education Administration Program that ultimately shaped my future as a full-time professor and Director of the Educational Leadership Program.

My interest in education started at an early age as I come from a family of educators. My mother was an outstanding high school and elementary-level Spanish teacher. My father served as a teacher, coach, principal, and school district superintendent in Illinois and was a long-time, community college-level member of the Board of Trustees.

Ironically, I followed that same path, starting my career as a high school basketball coach and English teacher before moving into the role of high school principal and school superintendent. I also spent four years as an elected school board member, serving as Vice President in the same school district I attended.

For me, education has always been the “family business,” and we just added one more to the mix as my niece recently started her career as a high school teacher. This common bond continues to drive my thinking about school issues and how we can create better schools for kids through the development of innovative school leaders.

What would you tell prospective students considering your program about yourself? What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?

I stay connected with Kentucky PreK-12 educators as a frequent presenter at regional and state-wide education conferences and stay current on school issues as an educational consultant.

In addition to my work at Georgetown College, I also serve as Kentucky’s Partnership Ambassador for The Modern Classrooms Project. This non-profit organization provides educators with a three-tiered instructional model: blended instruction, self-paced learning, and mastery-based grading to level the playing field for all students.

I’m also the founder and host the nationally acclaimed Reimagine Schools Podcast, that is part of the Education Podcast Network. The podcast features interviews with many of the top authors, speakers, and thought leaders in education. Those conversations have served as the foundation for my first book, which will be released in 2022 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing.

I have also launched Learners to Leaders Podcast within the Education Department to shine a light on our Georgetown alumni doing great things in PreK-12 education, with more episodes coming soon.

As a former journalism major, I also continue to follow my passion for covering sports as a contributing writer for A Sea of Blue. This popular blog site covers University of Kentucky basketball and football.

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing their master’s degree? How can people stand out in this field?

The best advice that I can give aspiring school leaders is to research in your school district to decide which pathway best meets your personal and professional goals for the future.

Many of our candidates want to be school principals, so they move through our Instructional Leadership Level I Program, and most return to complete our Level II Program. Additionally, we’ve had great success with our Superintendent Program, as those with an administrative certification can come in and complete an additional 12-hours to serve as a school district superintendent.

We’ve also expanded our programs to include various certification options for those that have a specific area of interest, such as human resources, special education, or curriculum and instruction. Candidates can come into those programs and secure state certification to serve as:

  • Director of Special Education (DoSE)
  • Director of Pupil Personnel (DPP)
  • Supervisor of Instruction (SOI)

We are also committed to designing new programs to attract more diverse candidates and were just approved to offer a new principal certification-only program that provides an accelerated pathway to enter the principalship. This 18-hour program is intended for candidates who already have a master’s degree in education, hold a Rank 1, and currently have a Kentucky administrative certification with the desire to complete coursework solely to add the principal certificate.

I’m most excited about the fact that we are currently designing an Ed.D. within the Educational Leadership Program that will become the first doctoral program in the history of Georgetown College. The interest and enthusiasm for this proposed doctorate has been off the charts, so I hope we can make a big push to get things approved soon.

If you’re looking for a way to separate yourself and stand out as an educational leader, my advice is to embrace the idea that school administrators are servant leaders. This means that you must lead by serving others, a concept that puts the best interest of others ahead of your own and creates the framework for positive school culture.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Anyone with interest in taking courses in our Educational Leadership Program can contact me at gregory_goins@georgetowncollege.edu for more information. Prospective candidates can also connect with me on Twitter at @DrGregGoins.