News 12 Staff
A Paterson teacher is doing whatever it takes to bring that holiday cheer to his students and families across New Jersey during the pandemic.
Whether it’s making a snow day long shot or balancing an elf baby while skiing or skate boarding, Coach Santa can do it all!
Coach Santa is actually Michael Godleski, a fourth-grade teacher and coach at Paterson Public School Number 12, where classes have been virtual all year long. And Coach Santa can tell it’s taken a toll.
“It is very strange. Usually, the kids would be a little bit more excited. And even though we only see them on the computer screens, you can tell that it doesn’t seem like we’re on the eve of Christmas just yet,” Godleski says.
So the dad of two grabbed the Santa suit and started shooting videos all over the state before posting them on Instagram as NJKids Coach.
The videos are short, but silly and seasonal, and often co-star his adorable daughters Sloan and L ayla as perfectly placed elves. And the whole family appears to be getting good grades from his students.
“I hope that somehow it brings them a little bit of cheer despite maybe not being able to see relatives and family, not being able to see their teachers every day and just to hopefully try to bring a little bit of cheer to this strange Christmas season,” Godleski says.
Coach Santa says he got that suit from his uncle last Christmas to dress up for his kids. He says his girls loved it so much, he had to get it back again… and he thinks this will become an annual tradition whether a pandemic or not.
Godleski says after Coach Santa goes back to the North Pole, he plans to bring out Coach Easter Bunny in the spring.