Legendary Debate Coach Beth Goldman Remembered by Friends, Family, and Former Students

Legendary Debate Coach Beth Goldman Remembered by Friends, Family, and Former Students

Goldman teaching in New York, circa 1970 {Courtesy of Jill Marlo}

By Bryan Boggiano

Friends, family, and former colleagues and students are remembering the legacy of Beth Goldman, whose 31-year career at J.P. Taravella saw her lead the school’s nationally recognized debate team.

She passed away on Wednesday of natural causes. She was 77.

Prior to JPT, she taught for 12 years at William Cullen Bryant High School in Astoria, NY. Goldman started at JPT in 1980, teaching English, becoming one of the school’s founding teachers.

 She found her biggest success coaching JPT’s debate team, beginning in the early 1980s until her retirement in 2011.

Jill Marlo, Goldman’s daughter, stated Goldman and JPT’s debate team received numerous accolades.

Goldman was a National Forensic League 5 Diamond Key Debate Coach, Florida Forensic League (FFL) State Coach of the Year, the FFL Regional Coach of the Year, FFL State Champion Coach, Florida Blue Key Speakers Bureau Gator Guard honoree, and Broward County Public School teacher of the year finalist, among other honors.

She also coached multiple state and national finalists and champions in debate and forensics.

Her former colleagues at JPT remember her as an “amazing teacher” and a “wonderful friend.”

Legendary Debate Coach Beth Goldman Remembered by Friends, Family, and Former Students

Goldman volunteering at the 2015 National Catholic Forensic League Tournament at Nova Southeastern University {Courtesy of Jill Marlo}

“Beth was an amazing teacher that I feel blessed to have worked with as a colleague and a parent,” wrote Jody Gaver on Facebook, who was the guidance director at JPT.

Several of Goldman’s former students shared fond memories of her significance in their high school years and professional development.

“She had a profound impact on my high school experience, mentoring me and giving me the outlet to gain confidence in public speaking and social settings,” wrote Jamie Ng Rose, who is now a debate coach herself.

Barry Gilbert wrote, “Being on her debate team gave me confidence, and she always made it fun and about her students.”

Marlo described Goldman as a witty, ethical, and passionate woman who put her students first. She stated by investing in her students; they were able to achieve their dreams and give back. She always advocated and helped her students in any way she could, even as she battled cancer.

“Her impact is like a butterfly effect, and the ripple she started for teenagers blossomed into TV personalities, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, and politicians,” Marlo said. “A lot credit her as their favorite teacher who inspired them into their future selves.”

Marlo said it means a lot to see her mother’s legacy continue. She states several of Goldman’s former students reached out, saying they tell stories to their own children about how inspirational she was.

“I’m grateful that so many people know how special she was and how the world is just a little dimmer without her light shining in it,” she said.

Legendary Debate Coach Beth Goldman Remembered by Friends, Family, and Former Students

Beth Goldman with her husband, David {Courtesy of Jill Marlo}

Goldman is survived by her husband of 51 years, David, her children, Jason and Jill, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Sun. March 12 at Temple Beth El of Boca Raton, located at 333 SW 4th Ave., at 2:30 p.m., and online.

Marlo said donations could be made in her memory to the American Heart Association or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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Author Profile

Bryan Boggiano

Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.

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