Lufkin ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya Goffney

We are a strong, proud Panther Nation because of the work of the members of the board of trustees who set the tone for excellence in our school district.

Andro Branch, Allyson Langston, Kristi Gay, Don Muhlbach, Andra Self and Scott Skelton work hard serving as advocates for the 8,300 children enrolled in Lufkin ISD. It is no easy task and can sometimes be a thankless job, but I’m here to say ‘‘thank you’’ on behalf of our community, staff, parents and students. Job. Well. Done.

Although, the job is never ever really done. There is much work to do and these six are at the ready to make sure Lufkin ISD is successful so that our students can thrive.

Andra Self is our longest-serving board member with more than 20 years of service to the school board. She is an advocate for children not only on the local level, but also on the state level, recently serving as the president of the Texas Association of School Boards. Her voice has put Lufkin on the map and allowed our talented students to be showcased in front of thousands. She continues to serve our district as a member of the Top Ladies of Distinction, an organization committed to making a difference at our district’s alternative school.

Andro Branch has served for 13 years on the board and brings his experience as a business owner to the group. He doesn’t mind asking the hard questions. As a businessman and pastor in our community, he has one single goal in mind: to help all children.

Allyson Langston, three years serving on the board, has the unique perspective as a former educator and a mom of three. She has an absolute heart of gold for Lufkin ISD and wants what’s ultimately best for kids. She is actively involved in the Lufkin Middle School PTS and is often seen throughout the Panther community supporting all students.

Scott Skelton has completed four years on the board and brings balance to the team along with his expertise in law. He is detail-oriented and is passionate about getting it right for kids. With Dr. Keven Ellis’ departure, he has taken over the responsibilities of president and has done a fantastic job. With the legislative session commencing, he is the perfect person to lead with our district’s legislative priorities in mind because he also serves as the chair of the Governmental Affairs committee of the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce.

Kristi Gay is our newest member who was appointed to the school board approximately six months ago to replace Stanley New. She is analytical and inquisitive, two qualities that every school board needs. She asks good questions and ensures that our finances are in order with the best interest of the district. She works passionately in several areas of Lufkin ISD, including Band Boosters treasurer, VP of the Education Foundation, and she was a member of the Strategic Planning committee.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say how much we miss Mr. New, the voice of wisdom, who served more than 22 years. We continue to extend prayers for his wife and children.

What is also worthy of being mentioned is that our school board members rise to positions in the state that take our representation to another level. State Rep. Trent Ashby and Ellis, new State School Board of Education member, both served as president of our Lufkin ISD board of trustees.

January is School Board Recognition Month. Notice the work being done on our campuses, in our halls and with our curriculum. Notice the teacher raises, the programs and initiatives, and the safe facilities. Notice the people behind the decisions who make Lufkin ISD the best choice for your child’s education, and thank them for their ongoing efforts to make a difference in the lives of our children.

LaTonya Goffney is the superintendent of Lufkin ISD. Her email address is This column originally appeared in The Lufkin News.