Fluvanna Faces: Mike Goad

By Harvey Sorum

Are you a native of Fluvanna County?  If not, what brought you here? 

I am not a native of Fork Union or Fluvanna County, though I do consider it home now! I was born and raised in Chesterfield and graduated from Matoaca High School in 2009. After that, I spent a year playing football at the University of Richmond, after which I transferred to Hampden-Sydney College (HSC), where I was a proud student-athlete for four years.

About a year after I graduated from HSC in 2013, I got a call from FUMA’s Academic Dean at the time—my predecessor—about an opening in the FUMA middle school. Having attended an all-male college—and seeing the impact that such an environment can have on a young man (like it did for me at HSC)—I decided that FUMA was an ideal place to begin my career in education. I spent three years teaching 7th-Grade English and U.S. history, a year in the Upper School teaching AP U.S. Government and AP U.S. history and have served the last five as the academic dean. I also served as an adjunct professor in the education department at Longwood University for two years from 2018-2019. 

Tell us a little about yourself and family.

Shortly after arriving at FUMA in August of 2015, I met a young lady by the name of Kate Pendergrass, who was also working at the Academy in the development office at the time (and still does). Less than two years later we were married and decided that Fork Union was where we wanted to plant our roots and raise our family—which grew by one in January 2023 with the birth of our son, Reagan. We are proud members of Fork Union Baptist Church, where Kate and her family have attended for decades. 

My initial job at FUMA was a big reason why I came to Fork Union, but Kate is a big reason why I stayed. Kate was born and raised here in Fork Union and is a Fluco graduate—as were her mother and father before her. Fluvanna—and especially Fork Union—is a very special place to her and somewhere she envisioned raising a family. Her family has lived in Fork Union for generations on both sides, and they—along with the rest of this community—have welcomed me with open arms and given me a place to truly call home.    

You recently announced a career change that will go into effect later this year. What will you be doing and what does this transition look like for you and your family?

Earlier this year, I informed the Academy that I would be transitioning into an executive role with my father’s company—Superior Signs—at the end of this academic year. My father founded this company in his garage in 1982, and it has grown to become one of the largest manufacturers of commercial signage in the mid-Atlantic region.

Prior to accepting my position at FUMA in 2015, many assumed that I would take over my father’s business after college graduation. However, God had different plans for me at the time. Now, I feel that God is calling me back to the family business where I will have big shoes to fill as my father prepares to step away into a retirement that is well-deserved and long overdue. Kate will continue to work at Fork Union—where she has for over a decade—and we will continue to live on campus at Fork Union while we look to purchase a home or build in the Fork Union area over the next year.   

What are your goals in life now?

From a professional standpoint, I hope to fill my father’s shoes—continue to grow his business and build upon a strong reputation that has taken him over 40 years to build. Personally, not much has changed. First and foremost, I want to continue working towards being the best husband, father, and man I can be—always serving as a positive example to my son. I also want to continue serving the constituents of the Fork Union District on the Board of Supervisors to the best of my ability and with a full heart. That is a job that I truly love, and I am beyond appreciative of the opportunity to serve the people of Fork Union. Finally, I still plan to finish my PhD in public policy. Within the next several months, I plan to complete my course work and begin the dissertation phase, where I plan to focus on the teacher shortage crisis in rural communities. 

Any favorite quotes or books or movies?

It is hard for me to hammer down one single book. An interesting fact about me is that I am enamored with the U.S. presidency and have read at least one biography on every president. I have a small personal library, which is filled with selections about our country’s presidents and the office itself. I even have a small collection of White House Christmas ornaments, and my son Reagan was named after Ronald Regan.

If I had to choose one book, it would be one of the following, though it would be a difficult decision. The first would be Truman, a biography of President Harry S. Truman by David McCullough. McCullough’s biography provides extraordinary insight into the humble beginnings—and largely humble life—of an extraordinary man whose difficult decisions shaped history in the Post-World War II era. The other would be Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.   

Do you have any hobbies?  If so, what are they?

I am an avid—and largely disappointed—Minnesota Vikings and Washington Nationals fan. Though he’s lived in Virginia all of his life, my father has always been an avid Vikings fan—a fandom that begin in the late ‘60s when he was playing on a little league time called the Vikings. When I was in second grade in 1998—Randy Moss’s rookie year—I remember watching every Vikings game that year with my father after he got DirectTV and purchased the NFL ticket so we could watch games together. They went 15-1 that year and made it all the way to the NFC Championship game—and I was hooked, for better or for worse. 

I became a Nationals fan in 2014 when I spent a brief stint after college (and before coming to FUMA) living in Northern Virgina. That year, I began attending games on a weekly basis for fun, but it did not take me long to develop a strong passion for the team. That passion still exists to this day, and Kate and I enjoy taking annual trips to DC for a ‘Nats series or two each year. My favorite Nationals memory was attending Game 3 of the NLCS—the first NLCS home game in Nationals history—with Kate in 2019…the same year they went on to win the World Series. 

What was the most important event in your life?

For now, it all begins with taking that interview at FUMA in 2015. At the time, I was prepared to take another job at a private school in another part of the state, but God told me to keep my options open. I am glad that I listened to him. That decision—and my decision to accept the job offer at FUMA—led me to several “most important” events in my life, including my wedding day and the birth of my son.

Any regrets?

No regrets whatsoever. God has blessed me with a wonderful life that I get to experience in a wonderful place with wonderful people.   

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