Michael Goodson – Marjorie Loughrey Lifetime Achievement Award – John McCrae

Michael Goodson, Teacher – John McCrae Secondary School

Mike Goodson has been a secondary visual art teacher in the Ottawa Carleton District  School Board (OCDSB) since 1990 including time spent at South Carleton High School, Confederation Education Centre and John McCrae Secondary School. Mike has shared his passion for art inspiring thousands of his students to develop an appreciation for the subject matter while developing their ability to express themselves and communicate ideas about the world around them in two and three dimensions. Mike is extremely knowledgeable about both traditional and contemporary approaches to visual art and is able to convey his vast experience in ways that engage and empower his students. His dedication to art inspires them to produce work of the highest quality. Mike is also a proponent of “Young at Art” and strongly encourages his students to participate in that initiative and to seek opportunities to show their work in public settings.

Just as importantly, Mike has always had the capacity to make profound and long-lasting connections with his students. He cares deeply about them and their well-being. His students recognize that and respond very positively to his demeanour and approach. One of his teaching colleagues and former student notes: “Mike is the reason I am who I am. He has this incredible ability to see each of his students as individuals. I was one of those at risk youth who hated everything. Mike saved me! He gave me a safe place to be me; turned me onto art, music, film and philosophy. Made me see how cool it can be to be a thinker, that being someone who doesn’t conform is OK.  He gave me and countless others the voice we needed to take the risk to be artists and intellectuals and has churned out some incredible creative
thinkers! I became a teacher to hopefully be able to do the same for my students.

His classroom turned into this magical place where we could discuss life, learn about ourselves and grow from our experiences! He created a safe place and would open his classroom to all students every Thursday after school; we would hang out, paint, listen to music and talk about the latest films. I admire that he has never been afraid to share who he was with his students.” Mike has a passion for travel and a love for New York City, in particular. Over the years, Mike has taken students to this mecca of the art world where he brought the city to life with his knowledge and stories, many of which were personal experiences from his time living and working there as an artist. These trips were incredible learning experiences for every student that was able to attend.

Demonstrating that he too is a life-long learner, Mike took a sabbatical in 2010 to pursue his own artistic journey in London, England. While there, he interacted with like-minded artists while further developing his skills and overall approach to his own art. The opportunity reinvigorated Mike. His students were richer for it as he brought back a renewed passion and revised approach that would even better meet the needs of his students. Mike’s love and passion for the arts is contagious, his ability to teach how art reflects society is remarkable. His art leadership and contribution as a teacher to the OCDSB is incredible. The positive impact Mike has had on his students over the past twenty-eight years as an educator is immeasurable but undeniable.