Teamwork makes student dreams come true

Black History Month is a celebration of the contributions of African-Americans to our U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated the month of February as Black History Month.

Recently, I attended a program honoring Black History Month at Brandon Elementary and was amazed at the talent, poise and wealth of information shared by our students during the program. One African-American student recited the famous speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “I have a Dream,” written 50 years ago. A group of students of all nationalities performed a dance and another group performed a skit.

By the time a white student led the audience in the Black Negro Spiritual, “Lift E’vry Voice and Sing,” I was practically in tears.

Jordan, an African-American student who introduced me, leaned over and whispered, “Dr. Goffney, why are you about to cry?” I placed my arms around him and replied, “Baby, we are living the dream!”

I am thankful to the Brandon Elementary staff who worked as a team to bring this program and other celebrations of accomplishment to fruition. As I drove back to my office, I thought about the fact that it takes a team to live the dream or in the words of John Maxwell, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Teamwork doesn’t happen by accident. It requires effort and commitment, and a willingness to accept the challenges of working together.

At Lufkin ISD, we know we must work as a team to make the dreams of success a reality for our students. We come together with one goal and one mission: to educate and equip all students for success through exceptional learning experiences.

Whether the experiences are memorable programs such as the Black History Month celebration at Brandon Elementary, or day-to-day learning in the classroom with above and beyond curriculum planning and teaching, our teachers and staff members make a difference in the lives of our students.

In addition, through the partnerships with our community via strategic planning, community forums, parent liaisons and our newly formed education foundation, we connect across all boundaries to get the job done.

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 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 of our students deserve a 21st century education so that they will leave us with the ability to communicate, to collaborate, to think critically, and to be creative. 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 in his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Let’s use teamwork to make dreams come true for the students of Lufkin ISD.

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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