On July 1 there will be a new face in the Sandwich School District’s superintendent’s office but interim superintendent Pamela A. Gould is not a complete stranger to Sandwich and has said that she has wanted to work in the district since she began her career.
“Years ago, we used to compete against Sandwich,” she said of the time she spent coaching for the Whitman-Hanson district. “I’ve always known that Sandwich is a very good district.”
She said that when she ran the adult education program in Whitman, she used Sandwich as a model, particularly because of the Sandwich Community School.
Earlier this year she was a finalist for a superintendent position in Pembroke but that job went to the internal candidate. However, Dr. Gould said that it all worked out for the best, since she did not know at that time that the position in Sandwich would become available.
Her home is on Cape Cod and she believes that living close by is important for a superintendent. She said that living in Pocasset will allow her to attend as many events in the district as she possibly can.
Dr. Gould currently works as the assistant superintendent human resources for Plymouth Public Schools, a position she has held for seven years. She has been an educator for 23 years, beginning as a business and computer teacher in the Whitman-Hanson school system.
She is also a graduate of Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, where she played soccer, basketball and softball.
The oldest of three, Dr. Gould said that she was the first one in her family to attend college.
“Neither of my parents had the opportunity to go to college,” she said. “I watched them watch us with pride.”
She added that her proudest moment was getting her doctorate, particularly because it made her parents so happy.
Her brother William is currently the women’s basketball coach at Emerson College in Boston and her youngest brother, Mark, works in finance and is getting his degree in actuarial science.
Dr. Gould does not have children of her own, but her brothers each have two children, making her an aunt to three nephews and one niece.
“I always tell my brothers that it’s my job to spoil their kids. It’s your job to tell them that auntie shouldn’t have done that,” she said.
As her parents’ only daughter, she said that she was definitely “daddy’s girl” and when she was a student-athlete, he came to every game she played. That devotion continued when she was a coach and he attended all of her students’ games.
She said with certainty that her father would be in attendance at the Thanksgiving Day football game in Sandwich this year.
“Sandwich will have a new fan in him,” she said.
No matter how busy her work and family life become, she said she always makes time to work out. She said that she realized how important getting exercise was for her when she was about halfway through her first year as principal at Whitman-Hanson.
“I found myself yipping at people and being irritable,” she said, noting that it was unusual for her. “Somewhere along the line it hit me—I had stopped working out.”
She said that being able to jump on the treadmill helps her mental health.
“I’ll work my butt off on the job but I’m still going to make time for the treadmill,” she said.
Coming into Sandwich, Dr. Gould said she is very focused on the issue of student retention, especially when it comes to those leaving for the Sturgis Charter Public School. Her plans include doing an analysis of Sturgis to find out what it is that it offers that Sandwich does not, as well as talking to students who have left for Sturgis, to find out why they chose to leave.
In Plymouth, she said that they have worked hard to promote the programs that are available in the schools to try to keep more students in the district. She said that, as a result of those efforts, this year there have not been any applicants to their local charter school, Rising Tides.
She said that when it comes to families, once one child leaves the district, chances are that all of that family’s children will, too, because the culture of that school becomes ingrained in the household.
“Unless you can get the first kid, you’re done,” she said.
As an administrator, she said that her motto is that students come first, and she will never make a decision that does not come from that mindset.
In coming to Sandwich, Dr. Gould said that she knows that there will be times that a decision will have to be made and that it will not be a decision that everyone loves. However she wants people to know that any decisions she has to make will only be done after gathering as much information as possible.
With that being said, Dr. Gould is known in Plymouth for her open door policy and said that her outgoing and welcoming disposition is an honest representation of herself.
“What you see is what you get with me,” she said. “I’m not good at playing games with people.”