Meet Cobb County's 2023 teacher of the year

Meet Cobb County’s 2023 teacher of the year


Over two decades ago, an unexpected encounter on a Disney World bus led Dr. Elizabeth Goff to a fulfilling career in Cobb County’s schools. Today, after touching countless lives and earning the admiration of both peers and students, Dr. Goff has been honored as the 2023 Cobb County School District Teacher of the Year.

Goff, who wasn’t even supposed to be on that fateful Disney bus, found herself seated near retired Cobb County principal, Mary Anderson and her grandson. The chance meeting led to Anderson encouraging Goff to consider teaching in Cobb. Not long after, Goff took the advice to heart and became a kindergarten teacher at Hayes Elementary School.

“I loved everything about school,” Goff said. “School was a special place for me. I had a lot of great memories as a student. I never forget my teachers. When I think about what I’m trying to do for my students, I hope that the lessons that I teach, they take them and keep them forever.”

Now an English to Speakers of Other Languages instructor at Bells Ferry, Goff works with children from 29 different language backgrounds, many of whom she guides throughout their elementary journey.

“We have really long-term relationships with students and families and multiple siblings. It’s the best job! I love working with children. Getting a chance to really focus on my instruction with children, developing those relationships over time, and getting a chance to watch them progress is incredible,” explained the dedicated educator.

During her tenure in Cobb County,Goff has not only fostered a love of learning among her students but has also inspired some to take up the noble profession themselves. At least one of Goff’s former students has been recognized as a teacher of the year in another district.

One poignant moment she recalled involved a third-grade English Learner struggling with the alphabet. Goff, seeing the child’s desire to read and her interest in art, crafted a unique learning strategy centered on that passion, helping the student achieve her reading goals.

For Goff, the heart of teaching lies in the connections made. “Build those relationships, number one, with your students,” she advised new educators. “Take time to build relationships with your colleagues, work to get to know one another, share your strengths, and collaborate. All those things are really important for success in your first year and going forward.”

But what drives this veteran educator? “The children,” she simply stated. A lifelong lover of learning and service, Goff said she hopes her students carry forward the same enthusiasm for education she herself feels. She concluded, “I just grew up that way. It was instilled in me from a young age. I like doing things for people. I like service, and I like giving.”

Her story, from a chance meeting on a bus to being honored as Cobb’s top educator, serves as a testament to the serendipitous turns life can take and the immense impact a single decision can have on the lives of countless others.

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