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Norfolk Academy has successfully completed a national search for a new Upper School Director with the appointment of Sarah Goodson ’99, who has served since 2016 as an Assistant Director of the Upper School.

Mrs. Goodson will begin her new role on July 1, 2024. Head of School Travis Larrabee said in announcing her appointment that her passion for teaching, care for students and colleagues, and her effective, collaborative leadership style have brought accolades not only at Norfolk Academy, but at every school where she has taught and served as an administrator. “Sarah understands and appreciates the existing strengths of our Upper School, and she also possesses the positive, yet constructively critical vision needed to propel our educational program to new heights and to further enhance the student experience. I look forward to working with her more closely as she joins an incredibly strong leadership team at the Academy," he said.

Mrs. Goodson came to Norfolk Academy in eighth grade, and she attended Duke University, earning a B.S. in biological anthropology and anatomy. Upon graduation, she was the recipient of the William J. Griffith Service Award, which is given to students whose “contributions to the community have significantly impacted university life,” primarily for her work tutoring young students and building homes with an organization that constructs affordable housing in Durham. She also earned a master’s degree in teaching from Duke and as a graduate student, received both a prestigious National Science Foundation Noyce Fellowship and a Durham Teaching Fellowship.

Her first teaching job was at Durham Nativity School, an independent school that focuses on providing an enriched education for boys in grades 5-8 from financially disadvantaged families. She immediately got accustomed to wearing “multiple hats,” a common practice at independent schools, as she served as a science teacher, a French teacher, basketball coach, and athletic director. From 2007-2014, she taught at C.E. Jordan High School in the Durham public school system, earning “Teacher of the Year” recognition, teaching an array of science courses, including AP and honors biology, and serving as the Science Department Chair. She also was the Head Varsity Coach for Girls Soccer. During that period, she was an assistant adjunct professor at Duke in the Master of Arts in Education program, guiding undergraduates and graduate students in science instruction.

Mrs. Goodson returned to Norfolk Academy in 2014 as an Upper School science and math teacher; she currently teaches Advanced Anatomy & Physiology, and she has taught Advanced Biology and Algebra 2 as well. She has served as Head JV Coach for Girls Basketball and for Girls Lacrosse. From 2014-2023, she served as Director of the Global Health Fellows Program; in that role, she designed curricula that helped students deeply engage in challenging health issues and led experiential learning trips to Belize and cities in the U.S. In 2016, she won the school’s Massey Teaching Award, and in that same year, she became an Assistant Director of the Upper School, a role that has many facets, including organizing the master schedule, overseeing the advisory program with the Dean of Students, and co-chairing committees for the Strategic Plan. In 2019, she became the first Director of Maymester, leading a collaborative initiative by Upper School faculty to design and implement an experiential program for sophomores and juniors. Now in its third year, the program has transformed the way that Upper School students wrap up the year — offering them substantive exploration in topics beyond the curriculum.

Mrs. Goodson’s passion for education is shared by her husband, Kyle. They both taught at C.E. Jordan High School, and when they moved to Norfolk, Mr. Goodson taught English and coached lacrosse at Cox High School. In 2022, he came to Norfolk Academy, where he is a member of the sixth-grade team, teaching English and science, and coaching football, basketball, and lacrosse. 

On July 1, Linda Gorsline, who is wrapping up more than two decades as Upper School Director, will shift her responsibilities to focus on her role as Associate Head of School.

Sarah Goodson will become Norfolk Academy's Upper School Director on July 1, 2024. 

Sarah Goodson will become Norfolk Academy's Upper School Director on July 1, 2024. 

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