Gooden joined ESUSD in August 2017 as principal of El Segundo Middle School. She brings 18 years of experience serving secondary students primarily in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and a brief period at Glendale Unified and Fairfax County Public Schools. She began her career as a special education teacher in Virginia prior to relocating to California in 2002. She worked in administration since 2007, serving as program specialist, district administrator, and an assistant principal. She has considerable expertise in the areas of special education, data-based decision making, targeted interventions for students, and positive behavior intervention and support.
Gooden earned her doctorate in educational leadership from University of Southern California. Her dissertation focused on globalization and was entitled The Impact of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education on the Development of a Knowledge-Based Economy in Costa Rica. She earned her master’s degree in teaching from National University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from the University of Delaware.
“During her tenure as principal at El Segundo Middle School, Gooden was known for being an exceptional school leader. She has a reputation as a highly successful administrator who has garnered substantial support from the faculty she has worked with due to her warm approach, consistency, and commitment to making decisions based on what is best for students,” said ESUSD Superintendent Melissa Moore. “She works with all stakeholders as partners in the educational environment. Dr. Gooden is an excellent communicator, extremely thoughtful, and a team player. Dr. Gooden is a hard worker and top-notch professional who is on top of all issues she encounters.”
Most noteworthy, Gooden’s leadership contributed towards El Segundo Middle School being selected as one of 22 middle schools in California for the 2018 Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage and Apple Distinguished School recognitions. Her prior knowledge of high school administration will also be an asset, as she looks to collaboratively work with faculty to build upon El Segundo High School’s legacy of excellence.