Answering Savannah Morning News columnist Wanda Lloyd’s challenge to readers to “speak the names of at least three [women] who are…sheroes in this community,” I raise up the name of Gwendolyn P. Goodman (1936-2004).
Gwendolyn Goodman was a three-term City of Savannah Alderwoman and the first African American woman to be elected to City Council. She began her career as a biology teacher, and then served as a principal at Sol. C. Johnson High School, the Deputy Superintendent of the Division of Schools, and was the first African American woman to serve as the Superintendent of SCCPSS when she held the interim position for a year in 1990-1991. Ms. Goodman is also the namesake for the science wing at Johnson High School, a building on the campus of Savannah Technical College, and a street, Gwen Goodman Drive, in West Savannah. This dynamic woman was a mother, a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration to many.
Upon returning home in 1996, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Goodman at various community events. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, I don’t remember the words Ms. Goodman spoke to me, but I remember how she made me feel. I felt like a vessel she chose to pour a bit of wisdom and care into. She encouraged me to become involved in the community in whatever way that suited me, and she offered words of support as I established a new law practice in Savannah. I was one of thousands of Chatham County citizens whose lives improved by crossing paths with Ms. Goodman