One district, under Goddard

New Superintendent Michael Goddard rejoins district after 10 years


Shae Daugherty

Superintendent Dr. Mike Goddard takes a selfie with sophomore Reid White on the sideline before the first play. This is Goddard’s first year as superintendent, and his iconic selfies express his enthusiasm for the position.

Michael Goddard is crying. Not because someone died. Or because he’s exhausted. He’s crying because he has just found out that he is Lovejoy ISD’s new superintendent. 

Goddard has been through the paper application, the video interview, the solo in-person interview and the in-person interview with his spouse. All for this moment. This moment nine years exactly after his last day as the high school’s principal. This moment an hour before the school board meeting where his position is officially pronounced. This moment 21 days before he is officially a part of the Lovejoy family once again. This moment 76 days before the first day of school.


Goddard isn’t sleeping–he’s too excited for the first day. So he starts his day. Early. The 3 or 4 a.m. kind of early. 

After a devotional and breakfast, Goddard gets dressed in the outfit he planned the night before: a suit and tie, fantasia socks, a fantasia pin and, just for the little ones, Mickey Mouse gloves. 

[One heart, one Lovejoy] means that no matter the group, team, activity or interest, WE are all Lovejoy.”

— Michael Goddard

The first stop of the day is Hart Elementary. Goddard hopes that the gloves, pin, and socks, will be enough to make sure the students walking by him won’t be intimidated by his 6’3” frame. And it’s enough. His large grin is returned by students, parents and teachers alike–some seeing their new superintendent for the first time. 

While at Hart, two little boys run up to Goddard to give him a hug. One in first grade, the other in third grade. Both are Goddard’s nephews. Seeing the boys reminds him of one of the reasons he applied for his position in the first place. He had wanted to get back to his family–to his community. To Goddard, the position of superintendent is more than just a job. It’s a life mission which changes everything for him.

“I have a full comprehensive plan coming in October about our plans for the upcoming year,” Goddard said. “I’ve been taking the first 90 days to make sure and listen and get input from all our stakeholders (students, teachers, staff, parents, community) as to strengths, areas of improvement needed and desires going forward.” 

Part of what Goddard hopes to do this year includes the slogan “One Heart, One Lovejoy.”

“[One heart, one Lovejoy] means that no matter the group, team, activity or interest, WE are all Lovejoy,” Goddard said. “We represent each other and support each other no matter what and through victory and challenge. We learn how to fail forward and engage in practices and performances of excellence. It is in how we speak, treat, and love each other throughout our campuses and community. It is what makes Lovejoy so special.” 

After greeting Hart elementary students, Goddard heads to the high school for traditions he first witnessed a decade ago: the senior breakfast and the senior walk-in. 

Goddard gives out fist bumps, takes selfies with the students, and gives advice on how to deal with senior year. 

“Senior year’s going to suck sometimes,” Goddard says to a student.  “Embrace the suck.” 

When the breakfast ends, it’s time for the walk. 

He walks the walk. He does exactly what he says is important and I think when people see that, it’s important.”

— Michael Motsney

Goddard can feel his eyes watering as he watches the procession of seniors leave the gym and walk out through the courtyard and into the main school. While watching the student parade proceed, the faces of two teachers stand out to him at the end of the line: Josh Strickland’s and Lauren Hayes. 

Seeing Strickland and Hayes standing and watching the students pass make Goddard feel proud, but also old. He remembers seeing them as seniors in 2010 and now he’s working in the same school district as them. 

There were only 176 students in that graduating first class, and he got to know everyone of them in one way or another. Now, he still gets to see some of them regularly. 

After the senior walk, Goddard makes his rounds to the rest of the schools. First to Puster, then to Sloan Creek, Lovejoy Elementary and Willow Springs. 

At the schools, Goddard’s presence has been noticed.

Courtesy of Melissa Smith
While attending the first home football game, Goddard visited the band directors and students. With senior Lily Hager, he led the band in a game called the roller coaster.

“I think having a superintendent that is visible helps everyone — parents, faculty, students,” AP Human Geography teacher Homa Lewis said.

Michael Motsney, one of Goddard’s former teammates and AP Literature teacher, agrees on the impact of Goddard’s focus on involvement. 

“I think it goes back to leading by example,” Motsney said. “He walks the walk. He does exactly what he says is important and I think when people see that, it’s important.” 

After the school visits are finished, Goddard returns to his office to pray and wait for the call that lets him know every student returned home safely.  

Shortly after, Goddard receives the call telling him that all the buses have returned to the bus barn. Everything is fine. So Goddard goes home, grills a steak for dinner, eats with his wife, and is in bed at 8:30 p.m. Now all that’s left are the following 176 days of school.