New Bate Middle School principal is 'going home'

June 30, 2004|HERB BROCK

On Tuesday, Michael Godbey moved forward and backward at the same time.

He was named the new principal at Bate Middle School, and that helped him move forward on his career path in education. It also allowed him to go back in time to the early 1980s. That's when he was a student at the school he will now oversee. His hiring will lead to a homecoming.

"It will be a day I will always remember," Godbey said of the professional and sentimental moves that occurred Tuesday when the school council selected him.

"I'm very excited about this opportunity," the Danville native said. "It's not only a great career opportunity for me; it's also a chance for me to go home. In a very real sense, I am going home.


"As an alumnus of Bate and Danville High School, I was part of the Danville tradition of academic excellence as a student, and now I will be able to be a part of that tradition as an administrator."

Godbey, 35, who has served as assistant principal at Liberty Elementary School in Casey County, said his main goal at Bate is to "work with the faculty and staff to ensure the academic success of each and every student" in the classroom, on standardized tests and in extracurricular programs.

He said was "attracted to Bate's diverse population" with students of various racial and ethnic backgrounds and impressed by the quality of the faculty.

Godbey replaces Paige Stevens, who recently received a leave of absence for up to three years to serve as a highly skilled educator for the state Department of Education. In that role, Stevens will be assigned to different schools in the state that need assistance in various aspects of their instructional and standardized testing programs.

The Bate council voted Tuesday morning to recommend the hiring of Godbey, and Danville Superintendent Bob Rowland promptly accepted the recommendation. Godbey, who will be paid $58,620 a year to oversee the 450-pupil school, will start to work in his new position Thursday.

Seventeen applied for the job

Godbey was one of some 17 applicants for the position and one of four finalists who were interviewed, according to Brian Gover, acting chairman of the selection committee formed by the Bate council. The committee was composed of eight people from both the outgoing and incoming councils, Gover said.

"Mr. Godbey will provide a positive atmosphere at Bate," Gover said. "We will be able to maintain the positive environment at Bate as well as cast a vision for continued student growth and success."

Gover said the search committee was looking for several qualifications, including an "instructional leader who knows course content," a "motivator of staff and students," and someone who would continue the school's progress toward closing racial and gender achievement gaps in performances in the classroom and on tests and meeting requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Education Act.

Rowland said the body "found a great fit" for the school.

"In finding Michael, the council put the children of Bate first and foremost into their thinking," he said.

Godbey has just completed his first year as assistant principal at Liberty Elementary. Prior to that job, he was a math teacher at Lincoln County Middle School and a math teacher at Stanford Elementary School.

He graduated in 1996 from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in education and went on to earn a master's degree in education and Rank I certification in administration from Eastern Kentucky University.

Godbey and his wife, Becky, and their two sons, Jared, 13, and Hayden, 4, currently live in Lincoln County.

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