Martha Goza, student council adviser at Captain Shreve High School in in Shreveport, LA, has been named the 2016 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year.
Goza is a teacher at Captain Shreve and has served the school as student council adviser for more than 30 years. Her leadership and the work of her student council have been recognized at the local, state, and national levels. Under her guidance, the Captain Shreve High School council has been very successful hosting a wide variety of activities that improve school spirit, support needs in the community, and help develop students as leaders.
A prime example of their success is the student council’s “Sock”tober project. Students were asked to bring one pair of socks during the month of October for the homeless children at various shelters in the city. Some brought as many as five or six pairs. The 100+ council members benefited from the experience and satisfaction of giving to others. Goza noted, “Many of the children who received the socks were overwhelmed that there were teenagers who cared about them.” She annually challenges her council to strive for excellence in their leadership and activities, to “go for the gold.” The members have responded to Goza by earning the NASC National Gold Council of Excellence award every year since 2008.
Goza works to cultivate integrity and commitment in her council members. She believes that a good leader must set exemplary values for themselves and lead others by those examples. There are three signs hanging in the student council room reflecting that belief: “Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone,” “You are who you choose to be,” and “What is popular is not always right; what is right is not always popular.” Her student leaders learn from Goza that being a committed leader is more than good attendance to council activities. She helps them understand that for leaders, commitment is being committed to their roles and to lead by doing, not directing.
As her expertise grew, Goza’s success as student council adviser spread from her school to the district and state levels where she has served in numerous roles with the Louisiana Association of Student Councils (LASC). She is actively involved with LASC and has served in district and state-level positions. Since 1985, Goza has been a counselor at the state summer workshop and regularly presents at LASC conferences. In 1995 and continuing today, she serves as a District Adviser. The position affords her the rewarding opportunity to work with schools to form their new student councils and help them and others to write effective constitutions.
For her efforts locally and at the state level, Goza has previously been recognized by LASC as their State Adviser of the Year and inducted her into the LASC Hall of Fame. Her success in the classroom has not gone unnoticed either, as Goza has been honored as the Caddo Parish Teacher of the Year and the Louisiana PTA Educator of Distinction.
Goza has attended the NASC National Conference since 1984, and regularly shares her knowledge and best practices to advisers as a roundtable presenter. She has also attended LEAD Conferences and hosted one of the events in 2008. Goza was one of the first NASC advisers trained for the Raising Student Voice & Participation (RSVP) program and continues it at her school. From 2010 to 2012, she served on the NASC Advisory Council representing Region 8.
Ginger Gustavson, principal of Captain Shreve High School considers Goza “an educator of the highest quality who exhibits exemplary character and leadership.” She lauds Goza’s commitment to the successful development of leadership qualities in the students and her continuing efforts to bring innovative strategies that build relationships and leadership skills. Of Goza’s role as an educator, Gustavson highlights her use of instructional strategies that promote student engagement and participation and models as she teaches: “Ms. Goza translates her lessons into extraordinary teaching and learning in her classroom and builds capacity so that all students are able to realize their potential,” Gustavson said.
The Captain Shreve Student Council President, Samantha Hilburn, reflected on the influence that Goza had on her growth as a leader saying, “I have worked under Ms. Goza’s wise guidance for the past four years as a member of the student council and she has provided me with countless opportunities to develop my diplomacy skills and opened many doors to a promising future as a servant leader.” Samantha shared that Goza fosters a supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and abilities to grow through service to others and has built an incredible legacy spanning three decades of leaders who graduate prepared to accomplish great things.
For being a role model and mentor to her students, for encouraging student leaders to reach out and serve others, and for a career-long commitment to student council at the local, state, and national levels, NASC congratulates Martha Goza on being named the 2016 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year and wishes her continued success in her efforts to foster and develop leadership through the quality student council program she maintains.
The award was presented to Goza during the 2016 NASC National Conference that was held in Portland, OR. The annual award is named for Warren E. Shull, the founder of NASC and recognizes student council advisers of exemplary character, leadership, and commitment to young people and who foster their development as student leaders.