Gift of an Education

It’s the season for giving and what a blessing and privilege it is to serve as the superintendent in a very giving community. So many in this city share their time, resources, and finances with the Lufkin school district in order to enhance the educational learning experiences of all of our students. Perhaps the essence of this giving was experienced last week during our Education Foundation’s inaugural prize patrol grant reveal.

Imagine a group of approximately 30 cheering people being led by the Lufkin band drum line and cheerleaders through the quiet campus halls celebrating our grant-winning teachers. Students and teachers peeped outside their doors to see what was going on and what the commotion was all about. The winning teachers came up with creative, innovative ideas to implement in the classroom and solicited funds from the newly created Education Foundation. Once the committee selected the winners through a blind process, the prize patrol was put into action complete with drummers, noisemakers, balloons, camera crews and six very big checks. The group all piled on a yellow school bus to travel to five of Lufkin ISD campuses. Talk about a powerful experience!

It was so exciting to see the surprise on the teachers’ faces. There were some tears of joy and lots of happy smiles from the students. I was so proud of the Education Foundation and for what they have accomplished in one year of operation. They were able to award six grants for a total of more than $13,700. That’s money going straight back into the classroom for innovative and creative ideas that will take our students to another level.

I think back on my own education and how it truly was the best gift that I ever received. I know my own teachers would have loved to have an opportunity where funds were available for their own ideas. Not only that, but the special educational memories created for students lasts a lifetime.

The foundation stays busy exploring ideas to have a greater impact, sharing the mission with potential donors, and fundraising for these grants. This is where the community comes in to show support of the foundation’s efforts. Donors from all over stepped up and demonstrated how important education and innovative thinking is to them by opening their wallets and their hearts. It was incredible to see this board in action. Each one of the members understands the mission: to provide opportunities for excellence in education, promote innovation in teaching, and partner with the community to enhance the quality of education for all students of the Lufkin Independent School District.

I am looking forward to seeing the manifestation of the grants in our classroom in the near future. Our teachers work tirelessly to create meaningful learning experiences in the classroom and with continued support of the community, they can make these extraordinary experiences happen.

It’s with a full heart and sincere gratitude that I thank all of those who made the Lufkin Education Foundation possible. For those who want to get involved or to just check out the hard work of the foundation, log on to their website http://www.lufkineducationfoundation.org. Not only would a donation make a great gift for the holidays, but you would also be contributing to something really big…the lifetime gift of an education.

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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