ST. PETERSBURG — Chiquita Godwin describes herself in one word – driven. The sky is the limit for her and her drive offers her an opportunity to fulfill unlimited ambitions. Godwin is an educator by day, but when the day is over her fearless mind and creative juices begin to flow. She is challenged by being challenged. It’s what drives her.
Godwin always wants to do the things that people think she can’t do. Her mother, Lucille Clark, and grandmother, the late Bonzee Kelly-Phillips, taught her early on not to be afraid to try new things and to not be a sheep and follow the herd.
“They said, ‘Nothing beats a failure but a try. To try new things is to explore. To explore is to learn and to learn is to expand my horizons. It makes you diversified and not be stuck in a box’.”
A St. Pete native, Godwin graduated from Pinellas Park High. She then attended Pinellas Technical Education Center becoming a Child Development Associate. She continued her educational track by attending St. Petersburg College where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, with special emphasis on Special Education K-12, ESOL Endorsed and Elementary Education K-12 Certified.
Godwin didn’t stop there. She received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University and is now pursuing a doctorate. Her sky has no limits. With the goal of positively impacting as many students, teachers and families as possible, she gained an interest in working with children with disabilities because she feels it’s her duty to help produce students who someday will make great strides in society.
“I am a hard worker who is dedicated and strive to do my best,” said Godwin. “I have worked hard as an educator to place my students’ needs first and to reach out to their parents and families to bridge the communication gap.”
Although pursuing more educational achievements, Godwin is not all work and no play. One of her passions is traveling. She has visited the Caribbean several times and expresses a desire to conquer Italy.
When Godwin was in high school, she dreamed of going to Africa. It was the premier place that she wanted to visit. Today, she feels accomplished having fulfilled that dream.
“I wanted to go to Africa, the motherland, to see what it was all about. I wanted to see for myself if what they show on television is actually how it is and I found it to be quite different,” said Godwin. “I got to see firsthand Cape Town, South Africa, and it’s absolutely beautiful.”
She’s also traveled to Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. There she got the opportunity to work with students. Visiting this third-world country helped her to realize how privileged we are as Americans.
Godwin is driven by naysayers. If someone says she can’t do something, she makes sure she put it on her to do list. She has already skydived, parasailed, zip lined and gone horseback riding.
In the future, she’ll be able to add bungee jumping, visiting Italy, a doctorate degree and anything else people think she can’t do. For Godwin, the sky has no limits. It’s what drives her!