People ask what I am most proud of about my time in Lufkin, and there’s no one single thing I can point to, because there are so many.
■ Establishing the Lufkin ISD Education Foundation and seeing the teachers come up with innovative ideas to benefit students with thousands of dollars in donations is simply amazing.
■ I’m proud to see the fruition of the strategic plan that began five years ago with almost 200 community members mapping out the future of Lufkin ISD.
■ I am proud of the increased number of advanced opportunities for students, such as the Young Scholars program and the Elementary Honor Society.
■ I’m proud of the community partnerships like the one with Stephen F. Austin State University for the STEM Academy, and Angelina College with the Early College High School beginning in the fall.
■ I am very proud our district has embraced a future-ready mindset with our department of professional and digital learning. Innovation Night is one of the most anticipated and attended events of the year. Our literacy initiatives make me proud in that now we have a literacy specialist/dyslexia therapist on every campus.
Our student successes are too numerous to count. From state honors with the Panther band to a soccer state championship and, recently, the accounting state championship and welding state champ heading to nationals, our students are competitive on the field and in the classroom.
I have enjoyed celebrating our top students at the Superintendent Honor Roll breakfast, where more than 550 students in grades third through 12th celebrate having good grades. I love watching the fifth-graders meet new friends and engage in teamwork at the Class of 2025 event where all our elementary students come together before going to middle school.
I’m proud of the events for our diverse population that have broken down barriers to ensure parents know what opportunities their children have at the Lufkin ISD Evento en Espanol and the Soul to Soul events.
Through the accomplishments, accolades and celebrations, I am most proud of moments. Moments like when I went to Hackney Primary, the 3-year-old campus, during the first week of school. The children were scattered like ants everywhere in the cafeteria. I would look down to their bright eyes and runny noses as they would cling to my leg. Precious babies with hope for the future, or at least hope for a chicken leg for lunch. A few months later, these same children would know their letters, colors and how to stand in a line; all life lessons. They were well adjusted and ready to learn.
Another moment was in a third-grade class at Anderson Elementary. The students were reading books and proudly showing me how they were reading above their grade level. This wasn’t a gifted and talented or advanced class. Our literacy program has taken off across the district, and all kids are benefiting.
A moment I treasure is stepping into the special needs class at Herty Primary. The teachers are so engaged with the students. It’s such a happy place in spite of all the evident challenges. As a mom of a special needs son, it gives me joy that Lufkin ISD is adding value to all kids. Herty does a great job of including these children in festivals and activities even if it means more work.
The priceless moments are endless, but one I am most proud of was on May 5 when I found out the $75 million bond passed. How wonderful to know a new middle school, multipurpose facility and athletic fields are in the future for Lufkin ISD. To be a part of the process and work along such an outstanding board and hardworking staff has meant everything to me.
The moment I am looking forward to is watching our 496 seniors walk across the stage, graduating with not only a diploma, but with choices and opportunities. After all, 100 percent of them are accepted into a university, junior college, technical school or the military.
This community cares about education, and I will always care about Lufkin. Thank you for the opportunity to serve; it’s been an absolute privilege.
LaTonya Goffney is the superintendent of Lufkin ISD. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This column originally appeared in The Lufkin News.