“Since The Fall Of ‘90”: Mr. Goudreau’s 30-Year Career At West High


Brian Goudreau today.

Alana Belle M. Tirado, Reporter

Thirty years is a profound amount of time to dedicate to one workplace, but that’s exactly what Brian Goudreau has done for West High School, clinching the record of being West’s longest serving teacher in the process.

Brian Goudreau’s staff badge from 2002.

“I love West. I love everything from the part of town, to the nature of all of the students, and the tradition of West High. There’s never been another high school in Anchorage that I’ve wanted to work at.” Goudreau says.

Goudreau, currently teaching ninth grade Biology, has experienced a lot during his three-decade stint, including having taught all grade levels of high school science. Although he prefers the scientific field (his other subjects included Human Anatomy, Physiology, AP Biology, Genetics, and Chemistry), Goudreau has also dabbled a little with math, and has coached volleyball, baseball, and softball. He describes teaching as a “relationship job”, and finds it very fulfilling.

Originally from Boston, Goudreau taught in other states during the late 70s and 80s before moving to Alaska. Interestingly, a handful of his former students from those 30 to 40 years ago still reach out to him, something Goudreau enjoys. Another fascinating factor is that some of Goudreau’s former students have now grown to be teachers alongside him. One of these teachers is West’s very own Journalism teacher, Rachel Stephl, and also Gabrielle Whitfield, West’s Orchestra teacher.

Whitfield still vividly remembers her high school days, and had Goudreau as a teacher when she took ninth grade Biology in 1993. “…there was a lot of memorization, but he was a lot of fun in class and he kept things entertaining. It’s one of the classes that I actually remember from that long ago!” Later on, she admitted, “I remember liking Biology. Out of all the science classes I took, I remember liking Biology best.”

Another former student is Alison McCarrey. McCarrey, who played French Horn in band in high school, now teaches orchestra at Romig Middle School. Two years younger than Whitfield, they almost had Goudreau as a teacher in the same school year together. Both McCarrey and Whitfield agree on Goudreau being a smart, witty, and funny individual.

McCarrey also stated a major component in why she found Goudreau a memorable teacher. “I think he just really cared about his students and he cared about his subject too, and you know, not all teachers care about both things and it’s nice to have a teacher who does.”

This meant a lot to McCarrey. After noting Goudreau’s care towards her class, she made sure to reciprocate that care and doubled her efforts while completing assignments and studying for tests.

“He was good enough at his job that I really wanted to do well to help him feel like he was good at his job, kind of overachieve a little bit just because I thought it was important to really do a lot.”

Both McCarrey and Whitfield have taught for more than 15 years, and they believe that it is likely that they will teach for as long as Goudreau has at some point, especially with how great West and Romig are. Despite the fact that Whitfield has taught side-by-side with Goudreau for years now, she disclosed, “I always still call him Mr. Goudreau. I never call him Brian.”

Calling Goudreau by his first name does not bother upperclassmen, who still drop by to visit and greet Goudreau (or, “Brian”, as they say) whenever they can, especially while eating lunch in his classroom. It seems that he has extremely meaningful and unforgettable relationships with everyone.

“Relationships”, Goudreau says, “Sometimes those relationships are rekindled decades later. Old students will get in touch and thank me for something more, and try to reconnect in some way. I’ve got emails recently, one reconnecting from before I moved here, from students back from the 80s. That’s a great thing.”

Goudreau currently does not have plans to retire, and it appears that his years here will lengthen, and he will continue to solidify his great presence at West.

*Note: The ASD Administration/Records was unable to provide information over whether or not Goudreau is the longest serving teacher in the district or state.