Lufkin ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya Goffney reacts to being named as the Texas Association of School Administrators/Texas Association of School Boards Texas Superintendent of the Year on Saturday morning at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. (Photo by ALLYSON LANGSTON/Lufkin ISD School Board)

DALLAS — Dr. LaTonya Goffney, Lufkin ISD’s Superintendent of Schools, was named Superintendent of the Year at the Texas Association of School Administrators/Texas Association of School Boards convention this weekend in Dallas. The SOTY program has recognized exemplary superintendents for excellence and achievement in educational leadership since 1984.

Dr. Goffney was among five finalists: Robert Jaklich, Victoria ISD, Region 3; Thomas Randle, Lamar CISD, Region 4; LaTonya Goffney, Lufkin ISD, Region 7; Judd Marshall, Mount Pleasant ISD, Region 8; and Jim Vaszauskas, Mansfield ISD, Region 11.

The state selection committee, which interviewed regional winners August 25-26 in Austin and then finalists on Friday in Dallas, targeted such issues as advocacy efforts during the regular and special sessions and the importance of all staff members’ contributions to a district’s success. Also explored were the ever-changing challenges facing education leaders as they focus on initiatives and programs that truly benefit students.

Scott Skelton, president of the Lufkin ISD Board of Trustees, said, “To quote our former board member, the late Stanley New, Dr. Goffney was the right person to hire for such a time as this. We interviewed six people, three men and three women, and we knew without a doubt that she was the one for Lufkin. We look forward to the continued work in the district. We look forward to the continued innovation under her leadership. I am proud of her professionally and proud of her as a woman of faith and family.”

Dr. Goffney said, “I am very grateful and incredibly honored to receive this statewide award. What a blessing it is to serve among some of the most outstanding fellow superintendents in Texas. … It’s a privilege to work in the Lufkin community where people value public education. This award is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated team including a visionary board, unified staff, and great students.”

With 15 years of administration experience, Dr. Goffney serves about 8,175 students. She has led Lufkin ISD for four years. Cited by the selection committee were her focus on transparency, removing barriers, and sharing best practices for continuous improvement in the district. Also noted were the community forums and state-of-the-district breakfasts to gather input and share progress. Dr. Goffney earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees at Sam Houston State University.

As the winning superintendent, Dr. Goffney will receive a ring from Balfour, the program underwriter, and a cash prize. She is the first African-American woman to win the award in its 33 years.