School Board Members are a Gift to the Community

School board members donate countless hours of their time — preparing for meetings, attending meetings, and supporting school-related functions and events. The word “donate” is an important one; school board members are volunteers, receiving no pay for the work they do to help our school district. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their willingness to serve.

I am very fortunate to work with a board of trustees that is focused on the work of making Lufkin ISD the best choice for all of the students who live within our boundaries. I will never forget the first time I met them when I interviewed for the superintendent position. The interview was held in one of the conference rooms at Crown Colony Country Club on March 7, 2013, at 6 p.m. I had been preparing all day — reviewing the data, reading past news articles, driving by different campuses, and talking to community members about the district while visiting a local restaurant and hotel. I arrived early, so I had time to pray asking God to anoint me during the interview and that His will be done in my life.

Upon entering the room, I shook all of their hands and was escorted to what most would refer to as the “hot” seat. I will never forget the preface to my response to their first question, “Tell us about yourself.” I stated, “I understand that you have an important decision to make and it is my hope that our conversation over the next hour or so makes your decision a little easier as you envision us working together to build on the excellence and make a positive difference for all the students of Lufkin ISD.” To my surprise, my interview ended at almost 10 p.m., and I left feeling excited about the possibility of working with these new “bosses.”

Each one of our board members brings so much experience and wisdom to the table in their own unique way. They have many tough decisions to make, and I feel privileged that hiring me for the position of superintendent was one of them. A little over six months later, I still feel the same excitement and joy working with such a positive, visionary team of eight.

The work is not easy. Our board of trustees must stretch the district’s dollars as far as possible and take time to understand complicated legislation affecting our schools. They speak up to help community members see the vision of what can be provided for our children. The work may not be easy, but it is definitely rewarding. Seeing firsthand how our students and staff succeed under the leadership of the board is fulfilling. Although we know our board does not serve for accolades, we give them praise for all they do.

January is School Board Recognition Month in Texas. Join me in taking a moment to thank our Lufkin ISD school board members. We appreciate their commitment to provide visionary leadership and their continued support to uphold the mission of Lufkin ISD: To educate and equip all students for success through exceptional learning experiences.

Thank you, Andro Branch, president; Stanley New, vice president; Andra Self, secretary; Scott Skelton; Dr. Keven Ellis; Allyson Langston and Don Muhlbach.

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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