Dr.Camille Goins’ dedication to the lumber community and field of higher education has helped numerous students in their journey to become educators. Photo/ Camille Goins.

By: Lakota Craft, Reporter

Dr. Camille Goins has dedicated her entire career to serve as an advocate for the underrepresented and marginalized groups, to challenge the status quo, and take risks. As a member of the Lumbee Tribe and a first-generation college student, Dr. Goins utilizes her cultural background to ensure each students’ culture is present within the teaching and learning process. Her background also motivates her to seek opportunities to better support the Indigenous community.

Prior to working at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Dr. Goins worked with students and educators on College and Career readiness. A position that provided her with the knowledge and skills to work with college students on creating innovative projects to implement at their schools to create a dynamic school community that supports the needs of all learners. These skills along with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Master in Public Administration both earned at UNC Pembroke, and 17 years experience in K-12 education. Dr. Goins decided to pursue a doctorate in Educational Leadership, which she received in 2015, and transition into higher education and teaching. 

Dr. Goins is currently an assistant professor in the Educational Leadership and Specialties Department and serves as the First Americans’ Educational Leadership (FAEL) Project Director. The FAEL program provides financial support and professional development to aspiring school leaders who are American Indian and will work in high-needs schools. She also works with students who are working throughout the state of North Carolina, and assists aspiring school leaders with implementing innovative practices that will help to transform schools, especially in districts that serve a diverse population. 

“I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself, and that I had a purpose. There were so many opportunities to work with colleagues who shared similar interests as I; also, to work with the community, and to serve our region. I knew this was where I wanted to be and was thankful for the opportunity to serve as a faculty member”, Dr. Goins said when recalling her first day at UNC Pembroke. 

Since her start at the university, Dr. Goins has spent her time supporting K-12 educators and community members, and becoming a responsive leader in the classroom and throughout the institution. She adapts her course material used in her classes, such as Supervision and Instructional Leadership, to include more activities, discussions, and projects centered on diversity, equity, and being a Culturally Responsive Leader. The course addresses stereotypes, implicit biases, and debunks the myths of poverty to improve educational practices to meet the needs of high-needs schools.

“Dr. Goins has basically molded me into an administrative individual that has learned how to focus on multiple skills at my school. She has taken the time to help me in a tremendous way by giving me guidance, advice, and support in and outside of UNCP. She has impacted me by showing what a true indigenous administrator should look like and how to engage our school in the cultures and climate of the indigenous people”, said Kayla Lowey, a former student of Dr. Goins. 

However, despite Dr. Goin’s passion for higher education and its students, she admitted that the most challenging part has been trying to find a balance between teaching, scholarship, and service while also taking care of her family. Nevertheless, she continues to engage in conversations with colleagues and other visitors about the Lumbee community and culture. In addition to this, and her work at UNCP, Dr. Goins started a group on Culturally Responsive Teaching in Higher Education. This group is built on the idea that it is important to learn about students’ culture, to listen to their stories and to better understand them. For Dr. Goins, learning more about her students, she is able to integrate certain knowledge into her teaching practice not only to help her students be successful in college but as citizens and in the workplace. 

“The proudest moment of my career was when I found out that UNCP School of Education was awarded the Department of Education Indian Education Grant to support the program First Americans’ Educational Leadership-FAEL. I knew this was an opportunity to help support many aspiring American Indian students to pursue their Master of School Administration Degree”, said Dr. Goins about her career at UNC Pembroke. 

This program supports Dr. Goins’ goal of seeing others be successful and improved outcomes for students and communities within our service region. 

“Dr. Camille Goins…introduced me to the FAEL (First Americans’ Educational Leadership) Cohort as I was obtaining my Masters’ of School Administration at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is the embodiment of genuine and models on a daily basis how to be an innovative change-agent through encouraging the heart, and providing opportunities for students to showcase their unique abilities and skill sets to prepare for the ever-changing roles of school administrators in North Carolina and abroad. Without her direct guidance, I would not be where I am today in my career”, said Jeremiah Moore. 

As a first-generation college student and minority female, Dr. Goins continues to believe in continuous learning, to not only enhance her teaching, leadership, and mentoring practices but to also provide support and encouragement to other aspiring leaders. The knowledge she has gained and her experience has allowed her to help others, support her university, and give back to the community by inspiring and empowering others. She expressed her gratitude for the programs that she has been a part of throughout her journey as an educator that has helped her become a confident, transformational leader, and supporter of creating a dynamic school community that supports the needs of all learners.