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Robert Goetschkes: A Lifelong Dedication to Education and Community Service

With an extensive experience of twenty-five years in classroom management and instruction, Robert Goetschkes has established himself as an expert in the field of education. Throughout his career, he has developed diverse skills, including curriculum development for public schools, refining teaching methods, and fostering meaningful connections with students.

A Passion for Efficiency and Critical Thinking

Currently, Goetschkes brings his critical thinking skills and passion for efficiency to his full-time position at the Leeward Light Charitable Foundation, where he serves as a warehousing professional. Here, he uses his expertise to contribute to the foundation's mission impactfully.

An Educational Journey

Growing up in Mahopac, a suburban community near New York City, Goetschkes found inspiration from his father, who served as a firefighter and a plumber. Encouraged by his father's heroism, he joined the Coast Guard during the first Gulf War, driven by a desire to make a difference.

After graduating from Mahopac High School in 1984, Goetschkes pursued higher education at SUNY Oneonta. In 1988, he completed his studies, majoring in history, economics and even seeking the art of foil fencing. His thirst for knowledge led him to earn a Master of Arts in Elementary Education and a Field Endorsement in Secondary Social Sciences.

Goetschkes' determination and tenacity shone through as he worked three part-time jobs year-round and self-financed his college degree. This can-do attitude continued to define his path, evident in his 11-year service in the U.S. Coast Guard. In recognition of his outstanding academic achievements, he gained entrance into the esteemed Alpha Sigma Lambda Honors Fraternity in 2002.

A Global Perspective and a Passion for Teaching

After completing his college education, Goetschkes expanded his educational horizons by joining the U.S. Peace Corps. For two and a half years, he lived and served in Tonga, engaging in community-based service that allowed him to form deep connections and contribute to the global community. His travels across India, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji enriched his perspective, providing valuable insights that he later imparted to hundreds of students during his 25-year teaching career.

Teaching with Distinction

During his service in the U.S. Coast Guard, Robert Goetschkes was honored with several awards, exemplifying his exceptional commitment and dedication. Among these is the USO General Dynamics Community Service Award in 1995, the Navy League Award for Outstanding Military Service in 1996, two consecutive Good Conduct Awards from the USCG in 2000, and the National Ski Patrol 10-Year Service Award in 2017. These military honors hold a special place in Goetschkes' heart, symbolizing the growth and transformation he experienced during his service.

In addition to military recognition, Goetschkes received acclaim for his remarkable contributions outside the armed forces. He was presented with the Certificate of Appreciation for Peace Corps Service by President Bush in 1992, the National Ski Patrol 10-Year Service Award in 2017, the Knights of Aksarben Good Neighbor Award in 2012, and the Teacher of the Year Award from the Norwin School District in 2006.

A Commitment to Philanthropy

Presently, Goetschkes works at the Leeward Light Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates charitable thrift stores throughout New England. All profits generated by these stores are reinvested into the community through donations to various established charities and foundations. Although he is retired from teaching, Goetschkes continues actively contributing to the community, aligning with his belief in the transformative power of education and service. Since 2009, the foundation has donated over $3 million to support local charities in New England, focusing on the essential needs of community members.


Family and Community Values

Following his honorable discharge from the Coast Guard, Robert Goetschkes embraced a new chapter as he married and started a family. As a devoted father, he firmly believes that education and service lay the foundation for a lasting legacy.

In addition to his accomplishments as an educator and distinguished veteran, Goetschkes has devoted his time to various community programs. For five years, he served in the Red Cross Disaster Services Department, where he was vital in providing immediate relief and assistance to communities affected by natural disasters. His unwavering commitment ensured that victims had access to critical resources such as food, water, and shelter in the aftermath of crises. Further exemplifying his dedication to public education, Goetschkes worked closely with the Henry Doorly Zoo for five years as an aquarium diver, leveraging his skills acquired in the U.S. Coast Guard to support and enhance aquarium programs.

Unyielding Pursuit of Passions

In his personal life, Goetschkes maintains an unwavering love for learning that extends to various interests and hobbies. Whether engrossed in writing, fly fishing, disc golf, cooking, or bird watching, he approaches these pursuits with the same zeal and dedication that characterized his teaching career. Notably, his passion for culinary arts led him to be a Certified Sous Chef with the American Culinary Federation. Furthermore, Goetschkes thrives on engaging in outdoor activities with friends and family. His upbringing in the scenic Adirondack Mountains nurtured his love for winter sports, making skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, surfing, sailing, and scuba diving among his cherished pastimes.

Robert Goetschkes: A Remarkable Individual

In summary, Robert Goetschkes is an extraordinary individual whose contributions extend across education, philanthropy, and personal passions. With a lifelong dedication to learning, service, and community, he has indelibly impacted those fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him. Goetschkes' journey embodies the qualities of a lifelong learner, a compassionate philanthropist, and a catalyst for positive change within his community and beyond.

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