Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award
Chair, Counselor Education and School Psychology Program; Professor Counselor Education
Gary Goodnough started his career teaching third and fourth grade in public elementary school. And while he loved teaching, he felt drawn to another calling: counseling. “I just wanted to help kids in a different way,” Goodnough says. After earning his master’s degree in school guidance counseling, he embarked on a new career as a school counselor and director of guidance. Within a few years, he enrolled at the University of Virginia to pursue his doctorate in counselor education.
In 1995, Goodnough’s dual passions for teaching and counseling converged when he joined the faculty at Plymouth State University fresh from earning his doctorate. Since then, he has not only prepared hundreds of students for fulfilling careers in school counseling, he has also helped develop PSU’s Counselor Education program. As chair of the program, Goodnough spearheaded the effort that resulted in the recent accreditation of the University’s Master of Education in Counselor Education, School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling, making it the only nationally-accredited counseling program in New Hampshire.
But Goodnough’s contributions to the University go beyond his work in the Counselor Education and School Psychology Program. He has served on numerous committees throughout his career at PSU, including recently co-chairing the University Planning committee. Along with PSU faculty members Trish Lindberg and Gail Mears, Goodnough is founder of TIGER (Theatre, Integrating Guidance, Education and Responsibility), a professional theatre company designed to help children, schools, parents and communities deal proactively and positively with social issues and concerns. TIGER has reached over 130,000 students.
While he enjoys his many roles and responsibilities at PSU, Goodnough’s true passion is working with students. “Gary supports students both academically and personally,” says one student. “He’s available after class, during vacations, and…travels to student internship sites to build relationships and ensure our success.”
“I get a great deal of satisfaction helping my students become more self-aware as human beings and more skilled as counselors and leaders,” he says. “And practicing the craft of counseling is very meaningful to me. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to both since I’ve come here.”
Just as fortunate are the many students whose lives and careers have been and continue to be guided by Goodnough. “It’s the best work someone can do, teaching people how to help others,” he says of his career. “I can’t think of anything more important or fulfilling that I’d like to do with my life.”