New Ferndale superintendent says district was the right fit

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 13, 2022

 The new superintendent of Ferndale Public Schools, Bobbie Goodrum, believes Ferndale is the right place for her, as she felt like it “was really aligned to who I am as a person.”

The new superintendent of Ferndale Public Schools, Bobbie Goodrum, believes Ferndale is the right place for her, as she felt like it “was really aligned to who I am as a person.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


FERNDALE — The new superintendent of Ferndale Public Schools is ready and excited to get to work.

Bobbie Goodrum was selected as the new superintendent of Ferndale schools in June by the Board of Education, who later approved her contract at the end of the month. Her first day with Ferndale was on July 1.

Goodrum has more than 23 years of experience as an educator, covering her time as a teacher, special education supervisor, director of special education and principal. She recently served as the assistant superintendent for diversity, equity and inclusion at Farmington Public Schools, where she has worked overall for the past 15 years.

Goodrum has had some experience in the role of superintendent before. From January to June in 2021, she served as the interim superintendent of Farmington Public Schools.

While it was a difficult time to lead the district, as Farmington and every other  district had to deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on learning, Goodrum said that time as interim superintendent let her know that she could take on a superintendent’s leadership position.

That didn’t mean she would take any superintendent job. Goodrum stated that she needed to find the district that was the right place for her.

“I wasn’t interested in just going to any district,” she said. “I wasn’t interested, I guess, in being a superintendent just to be a superintendent. Like it wasn’t the title. It really is about, like, a fit. And so when this opportunity presented itself, I just really felt like Ferndale was really aligned to who I am as a person with respect to principles and priorities. And so it seemed like if I was going to be a superintendent, Ferndale’s the type of district that I felt like I was prepared to lead.”

Goodrum’s work has been described as having a strong focus on increasing the “educational outcomes for all students, reducing opportunity gaps and barriers to student success, and increasing authentic student voice in educational decisions,” a press release from the district states.

Board of Education President Sandra Dukhie said Goodrum is going to be great in bringing Ferndale to the next phase of its strategic plan as far as the district’s equity work.

“She has already started making relationships with staff and community members in just the first couple of weeks,” she said. “We’re really excited about where we’re going next.”

“She’s coming from Farmington, and when she was in Farmington, when she was interim, they led the 21-Day Equity Challenge,” Dukhie continued. “Even though there was some community pushback from some areas, it was overall well-received from the community at large. And her equity work is just not race-related. It’s everything. It’s income, it’s special education. It’s across all gamuts. English-language learners. So she has the whole student in mind.”

The early days of Goodrum’s tenure, she said, has been focused on getting a thorough, “on the ground” understanding of what Ferndale is right now and getting a good feel for the culture and the community to see how the district moves forward.

Goodrum believes they need to make sure the students, the families and communities are strong partners in the teaching and learning process.

“People sometimes get frightened when they hear it, but it’s really kind of changing the power dynamics,” she said. “We work for the students, we work for the community, and so really putting that into practice and evolving them more and our decisions down to the type of instruction and the type of classes that we offer.”

Goodrum said she’s excited to learn about Ferndale, but she also knows it can be a bit frightening because there’s so much opportunity now and she wants to be able to get it right.

“You want to actually do things that are going to make a difference and, at this point, the buck stops (here),” she said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to really make some significant changes to education as a whole, you know, to think about things differently and to really make education work for all students. And that’s exciting, but it’s also a bit daunting because it’s a huge task. But goodness gracious, if we can make it work, it’s an amazing thing.”

The district will be holding a meet-and-greet with Goodrum that is open to the community. It will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, in the Ferndale High School Media Center, located at 881 Pinecrest Drive.