Memorial service pays tribute to former CCSD superintendent

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The woman who made history as Charleston County's first African-American female superintendent was remembered Friday night at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston.

"We're celebrating her life through music, through words and through song," said close friend Garcia Williams.

It looked like Sunday service at Mt. Moriah. Pews were packed with friends, colleagues and family.

The mood wasn't somber, but instead the memorial was a celebration of the life of a woman who made a difference.

"She was just an incredible spirit," said Williams. "I consider her to be one of the smartest women I've ever met. She was gifted in so many ways."

The doctor was in charge of Charleston County schools for almost four years and was chosen in 2003 after an eight month search. She started her career in special education in Colorado, becoming the youngest African-American woman principal in that state.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was also the first black and first woman to fill the role of superintendent in Charleston County.

The woman to follow in her footsteps, Dr. Nancy McGinley, said "Dr. Goodloe-Johnson inspired all of us to get on the bus."

Goodloe-Johnson died Dec. 5 after being sick with cancer for about a year, family members said.

"Losing her just creates such a void in our lives," said Williams. "But, our loss is Heaven's gain."

After leaving Charleston, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson moved out west to Seattle to become the superintendent for the Seattle School District from 2007 until last year. She was fired over the misuse of more than $1 million.

One of her accomplishments in Seattle was negotiating a teachers' contract that included student performance in job evaluations.

The Seattle School District said she improved student academic achievement.

According to the Detroit Public Schools website, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson recently worked as a deputy chancellor for instructional support and educational accountability.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson leaves behind her husband, Bruce, and a young daughter, Maya, as well as a large family and group of friends in Charleston.

Copyright 2012 WCSC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.