I Had a Dream

I love August, which signifies the start of a new school year for students in Texas. With the new school year, comes a new opportunity for our students and staff to start over with a clean slate and focus on setting and achieving goals. Moreover, I believe that dreams are manifested based on realizing those goals.

Labor Day weekend, my family and I returned to Coldspring to continue packing, organizing, and cleaning our house. While sorting through picture albums, yearbooks, and high school paraphernalia, I found my old senior book which included some pictures from my youth. As I looked at the pictures, I reflected back over my life.

As I looked at my second grade school picture, memories of wanting to achieve so that I could experience a better life flooded my mind. I had a fantastic teacher, Mrs. Proffer, who encouraged us to set goals. I remember sharing my dream of becoming a cashier with her. At the time, I assumed that cashiers made a lot of money and had access to nice things. Mrs. Proffer didn’t laugh at my little dream, but I distinctively remember her encouraging me to dream big.

I chuckled as I looked at my pictures from my years at junior high school. It was during those tween years that I decided that I wanted to be a secretary. The secretary at our school appeared to be in charge. I dreamed of dressing nice, answering the telephone, taking notes, and sitting behind a nice desk. Yes, I thought I was dreaming big.

All of the pictures from my youth reminded me of the hopes and dreams that my classmates and I all had over twenty years ago, and then I thought about where we were today. I am often asked what made the difference for me, so I decided to have this conversation with my best childhood friend. I called Rhonda and asked her, what made the difference in our outcomes?

“We had people at school and in our community who encouraged us to set goals and dream big. “

Recently, we celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.  Dr. King’s words ring true today filled with a message of hope for a brighter future. I realize that many of our students are like my friends and I were nearly 20 years ago – full of hopes, dreams, and aspirations. At Team Lufkin ISD, it is our belief that all children can learn and perform up to their potential. We believe that all students are valued, and that our diversity is our strength. Our vision is for all Lufkin ISD students to graduate and access the “great vaults of opportunities of this nation” that Dr. Martin Luther King alluded to 50 years ago in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Published by drgoffney

Dr. LaTonya Goffney was named Lufkin ISD Superintendent in 2013. A native of Coldspring, Dr. Goffney began her career as a language arts teacher in Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD. Additionally, she served as assistant principal and principal before serving as superintendent at Coldspring-Oakhurst for five years. Dr. Goffney earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English, a Master of Education degree in administration, and a Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership, all from Sam Houston State University. In her new role as Superintendent of Lufkin ISD, Dr. Goffney has focused on building community support. She has established an Education Foundation to enhance educational opportunities for all students through innovative teacher grants, a Strategic Planning group involving more than 100 community members and created a Hispanic advisory committee called the Nuestras Madres to connect with the Hispanic mothers in the district. She implemented the Panther Community Forums, which are quarterly meetings to address topics with the community and parents. Dr. Goffney began the Team Lufkin ISD Student Ambassadors, a high school student advisory group to the superintendent. Annually, she hosts Lufkin ISD Evento en Español to inform the Hispanic community of educational opportunities. Dr. Goffney was the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Administrator of the Year Award selected by the faculty of Sam Houston State University College of Education. She was named as one of only 22 members of the 2012-2013 Class of Phi Delta Kappa International Emerging Leaders. The PDK Emerging Leaders program recognizes top educators from across the world. She currently serves on the following civic boards: Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce, The Coalition, and Angelina County Economic Development. She is president-elect of the Texas Council of Women School Executives and was recently elected as recording secretary to the Texas Association of Black School Educators. Dr. Goffney also serves on the Executive Board of the Texas Association of School Administrators. Dr. Goffney is married to Joseph Goffney. They have two children, Joseph, Jr., 14, and Joslyn, 10. Dr. Goffney and her husband, Joseph, have co-authored a book titled All is Well as a tribute to their special needs son. Their story has been featured in several local magazines.

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