Goodrich hopes to be ‘positive influence’ at Kenwood
Cherokee Nation citizen and former professional basketball player Angel Goodrich helps tutor three Kenwood Public School students with their math assignments on Oct. 1. Goodrich works at the school through an American Indian Resource Center grant to assist students with classwork and athletics. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
KENWOOD – Cherokee Nation citizen and former professional basketball player Angel Goodrich is working with Kenwood Public School in Delaware County through an American Indian Resource Center grant called “National Youth Community Initiative,” in partnership with the Cherokee Nation Foundation, to help tutor students and work with them in athletics.
Kenwood Superintendent Billy Taylor said the school partnered with AIRC and received aid from a grant in 2017 that helped bring Goodrich and another teaching assistant to the school.
“They contacted me a couple of years ago about a grant they were writing and wanted to know if we’d be involved. I said of course, you know, anything that would bring funds to the school, assist us,” Taylor.
Taylor added that Kenwood is one of the smallest schools in the northeast Oklahoma area with a current enrollment of 97 students, and “probably one of the poorer schools” in the state. He said there is no real tax base for the school to receive the funding it truly needs.
He said the AIRC grant and a Google grant that was received has really helped the school purchase new computers, hire teaching assistants and buy equipment for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program.
“It’s a battle all the time. But things like AIRC and getting this Google grant, we’re really in a good place this year to really do a lot of things. We’ll be doing some robotics competitions and just getting our kids exposed to things they hadn’t been exposed to previously. So its really very positive,” he said.
AIRC Executive Director Pam Iron said AIRC approached Kenwood about the grant two years prior and Goodrich came to the school this year when Kenwood was in need of another teaching assistant.
“One of the components (of the grant) is called inclusion teaching, and it’s basically to have other individuals in a classroom that can work with students that may be just a little bit behind or just need a little bit extra attention,” Iron said. “Our philosophy is, of course, if our youth see a person of their background and of their tribe that has been successful that this will be an inspiration to them and this is really evidenced based. So we had provided this component.”
Goodrich said helping in the classroom is new for her but she wants to be a “positive influence.”
“Being in this role and being around kids, I just want to be a positive influence, someone they can look up to and they obviously look up to me in sports. So, coming here and being in this kind of atmosphere as far as a classroom, I want them to see the other side as far as student instead of athlete. A lot of kids I’ve worked with, they’re good and they have potential in sports, but they don’t really want to work. So I want them to see the importance of being a student-athlete and student coming first before the athlete,” Goodrich said.
Goodrich tutors students fifth through eighth grades in the morning and helps grades third through eighth in the afternoons in athletics and assisting the head coach.
She attended Sequoyah High School where she helped lead the Lady Indians to three state champions in basketball. She attended the University of Kansas where she majored in applied behavioral sciences and received much recognition in basketball including all-time leader in assists, a finalist for the Lieberman Award, and being an All-Big 12 First Team pick. After college, she was drafted 29th overall in the 2013 WNBA draft and she played with WNBA teams Tulsa Shock and Seattle Storm. She is currently working with AIRC on several upcoming leadership projects.
“With Angel I’m sure that there will be a great effect as the tutor. But I think there will be a larger impact on providing a really positive role model. Us as teachers we are role models but not the same as someone young that’s been as successful as her and a little more closer to our students age, and they identify (with) and look up to good athletes,” Taylor said.