HPU dean takes holistic view of career as calling

  |  Source: Howard Payne University

Kylah Clark-Goff of Howard Payne University demonstrates teaching techniques designed to engage students—using an orange to represent the physical properties of the brain. (HPU Photo / Jarvis Green)

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BROWNWOOD—Even a brief conversation with Kylah Clark-Goff, dean of Howard Payne University’s School of Education, reveals her passion for learning and serving Christ. In her eyes, these two aspects of life should complement each other to influence life and career.

After earning an education degree at Baylor University and starting a job as a teacher, she sensed a calling to missions. So, she began attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary part-time while continuing to teach.

Call to missions, call to education

Growing up with a mother who was a teacher meant education always felt like a natural fit for Clark-Goff. However, her call to missions was more than coincidental with her skill and background in education.

“Teaching skills work in a lot of contexts,” she said. “Whether it be teaching someone English or the Bible, education has been involved everywhere I’ve done missions.”

While at seminary, she married Sam Goff, who is the minister of missions at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood.

Following the completion of her degree, the couple made a major commitment to God’s calling by moving to Mozambique as missionaries. Clark-Goff ran an English program there, and her husband worked on agricultural development. After several years, they returned to the United States due to the birth of their first child, Mo. The couple then completed their doctoral degrees at Texas A&M University.

‘We’re all ministers if we choose to be’

Although the family now resides in Brownwood, their mission work is ongoing.

“Anything we do can be considered missions, in that our career is really a calling,” Clark-Goff said. “No matter what the career, it is about how God is going to use you to make a difference in the lives of people. We should have a holistic view of careers; we’re all ministers if we choose to be.”

Just as missions should not be confined to a certain profession, she emphasized, education should not be restricted to the classroom.

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“Learning is a constant, lifelong process,” she said. “We’ve all got to be in a constant state of learning. If you’re not going forward, you’re taking steps back.”

Serving the university

In addition to serving as the dean of the HPU School of Education, Clark-Goff chairs the Student Learning Success Committee as part of the university’s strategic planning process and serves on the presidential search committee. As HPU seeks its 20th president, Clark-Goff said, the committee and the university as a whole must follow God’s leading.

“God has prepared someone to be HPU’s president, just as he has prepared this position for that person,” she said. “We have to be so prayerful that we’re in the right mindset to recognize who God is guiding to HPU.”

She did not attend HPU, but Clark-Goff said living in Brownwood since the eighth grade meant that the university was an important part of her life. She grew up knowing professors, staff, peers and friends who worked at or attended HPU. This, combined with her time teaching at the university, has accentuated the institution’s uniqueness to her.

“You are going to meet the greatest people here,” she said. “These people will shape your life and then still be there for you in 20 years. That’s what we have to offer—amazing people who are student-focused and centered in Christ.”

Seth Rainey is a senior majoring in communication studies at Howard Payne University.

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