Hannah Goforth
Lincoln College Preparatory Academy Middle School
Project Lead the Way

What factors influenced your decision to become a teacher? Identify what you consider to be your greatest contributions to and accomplishments in education. 
Growing up, I was constantly around great teachers, but didn’t plan on becoming one. My stepmother was a kindergarten teacher for a neighboring district, and I would go to school with her when I was off school. During my time in her classroom, I gave students one-on-one math and reading tutoring. I loved the feeling of helping students reach their goals and improve their self-esteem.

For over 50 years, my grandfather worked at St. Clair High School as an industrial art and co-op teacher and administrator. He had a great passion for teaching and taught three generations of students. He was especially passionate about preparing his students for the workforce, whether they were college-bound or not. Through my teaching career, he has given me countless pieces of wisdom.

I enrolled in a job placement class in my senior year of high school. I shadowed a local dentist’s office and decided to pursue a career in dentistry. I attended dental hygiene school at Ozarks Technical Community College. During that time, I was fascinated with advanced science and loved educating my younger patients about good hygiene. I was much less passionate about cleaning teeth every day for the rest of my life. I decided to leave the dental hygiene school to pursue my interest in science education. I fell in love with teaching middle schoolers and never looked back.

My greatest accomplishment in education has been inspiring students to pursue STEM careers. I have made it my mission to create engaging science lessons to change the perspective of science for my students, especially females. While teaching high schoolers, I was able to help my students explore and apply for STEM majors. I believe teachers have the foremost ability and duty to motivate students towards successful careers.

Describe a project or initiative that you have led or been involved with that contributed to increasing equity in education and opportunity for students in your school. What was your role in this project and what was the impact?
This past fall, I had the honor of being the head volleyball coach at my school. We had an overwhelming amount of interest in the sport, and I insisted on keeping all 45 girls who tried out. We practiced four times a week, including a study hall hour for each practice. The team had a wide range of abilities, from year-round club players to those who had never touched a volleyball. Each player was instructed with no judgment or retribution for errors. It was an excellent experience for each player to learn new skills, and every single one of them improved throughout the season. Using intense organization, I made sure every girl played the same amount of games and were rotated in the same amount during each set. The girls worked together, played hard, and found themselves winning first place in the district. I was beyond proud, and the girls were ecstatic to bring the very first trophy to our brand new school. The entire season created new friendships, boosted self-esteem, improved athletic abilities and established a sense of pride in our school.