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People @ Goddard

Sarah Barber-Just

An English teacher at Amherst (Mass.) Regional High School, Sara developed the nation's first full public high school course in gay and lesbian literature as her Goddard thesis project.

I had been teaching for a few years, and I wanted to do a low-residency master's in social-justice education. I wanted to determine my own course of study; I also didn't want to leave my job to go back to school. Goddard's program was the only one I found where you could start by doing a whole semester of research, then come up with a curriculum, and then put that into action. I said, "This is perfect!"

Once I clicked with the advisor who was right for me, it was amazing to be able to do all this independent work and have high-quality, one-on-one feedback. By the third semester I was field-testing the course at my high school. The next year my curriculum got approved as a full course offering.

Our course is reaching a diverse population--it attracts male students, students of color, students of all religions, and international students. And it's all thanks to that combination of getting a Goddard education and being able to put it into practice. For me, that was a magical combination.