A Mount Airy teacher and coach is taking the first step toward one day becoming a principal.
Levi Goins teaches biology and chemistry at the high school and is in his fifth season as head basketball coach.
After three years as JV coach, Goins was promoted to head coach in July 2012 when it was announced that then-coach Kevin Spainhour was leaving to take an assistant principal job at West Stokes.
Goins, who played for and coached under Spainhour, said he hadn’t thought much about the fact that he is following his friend into the administrative field.
“Coaching is a leadership-centered job,” he said. “So I guess it seems like the logical next step for coaches.”
Last week Surry County Schools announced that three teachers would be interning at the county high schools next year through a leadership program with UNC Greensboro.
Goins has a similar opportunity as he has been selected as one of 20 candidates for the Leadership Academy at High Point University.
Mount Airy City Schools is one of seven districts partnering with the university.
The city district said that this is “an extensive program that will prepare candidates to become principals who will return to their home districts following a year of leadership development.”
“Graduate students will learn about themselves, build skills and grow through job-embedded experiences that relate directly to their field of study,” the district stated in a press release. “This training will prepare Mr. Goins and other participants to transform low-performing schools into high-performance learning environments for all students.”
Goins said he will continue to coach the basketball team for the foreseeable future. This spring semester will require him to complete some coursework, but most all of that can be done online, working around his classroom and coaching obligations.
The 20 candidates who make up the leadership cohort will meet in person several times this semester, then there will be intensive studies over the summer when school is out.
Come the fall, Goins said he will be assigned to either Mount Airy High or the middle school for his internship.
As with the county schools, the Leadership Academy will fund a substitute to cover Goins’ classes during his internship. Once his training year is over, he can return to the high school and await an opening for an assistant principal post at one of the four city schools.
“Upon completion of the academy, he will have earned his M.Ed. in educational leadership from High Point University and be eligible for North Carolina licensure as school administrator,” according to information on the Leadership Academy.
One requirement for the candidates is that they commit to work in their home district for at least three more years. That isn’t an issue for Goins, who is quite happy to work in the community where he grew up. When he was promoted to head coach, Goins called it a privilege to work in a community where so many people are supportive of athletics.
“It has been my pleasure to work with Mr. Goins and High Point University throughout this process,” said Jason Dorsett, the city schools chief operations officer. Goins will earn a master’s degree from one of the best universities in the state, he said. “The course work, job-embedded experiences and collaboration with other districts will provide Mr. Goins with an opportunity that will benefit our district for many years to come.”
Becoming an assistant principal will mean that Goins has to give up the coaching reins, a move he said he isn’t ready to do just yet. He plans to coach the rest of this season and next year while interning. Then it will be playing it by ear on when opportunities arise.
Goins has certainly made his imprint on the program, which went 5-13 in 2011-12 before he took over.
The Bears have gotten better each year he has coached from 13-12 his first year, then 17-10, 18-6 and 25-4 (with a conference title and reaching the third round of the state 1A playoffs).
Overall, Goins has gone 75-33, a winning rate of .694. The past three seasons has been even better at 60-20, a .750 winning mark. In February, the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association honored Goins as the district’s Coach of the Year.
Goins deflected the praise, saying he has “been blessed with talent and athletes” in his tenure.
“I have enjoyed every season. They have been completely different teams each season. It’s a difficult job but very enjoyable.”
In a couple of years he could be coaching a group of teachers instead of players.