When Jackson Randle, Lufkin ISD Computer Technician, shows up on a campus to fix a technical problem, he’s there with a mission in mind.
Mr. Randle said, “I’m doing my job to help others. If I do my job fast, it saves money. If I go above and beyond, and the faster I am finishing the ticket, the more time teachers have with the kids. Teachers come first.”
Jackson Randle is a motivated man. He graduated from Lufkin High School in 2011 and has completed his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and master’s in Public Administration from Louisiana Monroe where he attended on a scholarship to play football.
He said, “Football was my sport because my older brother played. I wanted to impress him.”
Mr. Randle has two older brothers, Jeff and Niko. His dad, Charles, is disabled from an accident where he broke his back on the job working at a log truck company. His mom, Jewel, works as a radiation therapist at the Temple Cancer Center.
He said, “Being the baby has it’s advantages. I would tell my dad everything. I was his informant. I watched my two older brothers, and they argued that I never got in trouble.”
Playing for the Lufkin Panthers gave him the opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in the state.
“I love Coach Quick, Coach Outlaw, and Coach Stafford. Coach Outlaw was there one more year after I left. Coach Stafford prepared me. Him being hard on me helped a lot, especially in college. He doesn’t even know it,” he said.
When talking about some of his favorite teachers, he mentions Gaylyn Kirby, Erin Kay, Gary Davis, and Rene Heintschel, who was an interpreter who worked with Demontrai Lewis, a deaf student who played on the football team with Mr. Randle.
He said, “It was amazing to see him have a challenge like that. I have no excuse. It’s good to be around different people.”
Ms. Heintschel would sign to Demontrai from the sidelines. Mr. Randle said Demontrai had one benefit from being deaf.
“He never jumped offside. He would watch the ball like we were supposed to be doing. We could talk to him. He could read lips well,” he said.
Even though football was a huge part of Mr. Randle’s life, after a concussion his sophomore year in college, he realized it wasn’t everything.
“It was a chip block where I was hit on the side of the helmet. I lost my vision,” he said.
Luckily it was only temporary, but his mentor and political science teacher, Dr. Sutherland, was there for him.
“He said ‘You can quit today. I’ll make sure you have a way. I’ll help you make it without football’,” Mr. Randle said.
That was the motivation he needed to “push it out” and do both.
He said, “It gave me the strength to finish football and still do my education. It was motivation to work harder. Dr. Sutherland was one of my biggest role models, an inspiration for me. He wants me to come back and get my doctorate. He believed in me even when times were tough.”
Mr. Randle said, “It’s important to tell kids they’re intelligent and that athletics is not their only option.”
After college, Mr. Randle was going to take a semester off. That was when Brandon Boyd, who was the principal at Brandon Elementary at the time, recruited him to work as a campus aide. When he was working at Brandon Elementary, Brad Stewart, the Executive Director of Technology, discovered Mr. Randle and his ability to quickly solve problems.
He said, “Brad found me. I wasn’t searching. Jimmy Pritchard had left and Brad came to me. I love helping. I didn’t think I would enjoy this, but I love kids.”
Mr. Randle takes care of the technical needs of the following campuses: Lufkin Middle School, Brookhollow Elementary, Garrett Primary, Trout Primary and the Alternative School in Redland.
He arrives in the office at 7:15 a.m. raring to go. He hits Lufkin Middle School first and then spreads out across the district. He has a new co-worker, Tyler, who is good for his competitive edge.
He said, “He’s great. He works hard. We compete on being fast and efficient, which is good for everyone.”
Mr. Randle also speaks highly of his mentors Brad Stewart, Josh Williams, and Andrew Nutt all who have taught him a lot about his job and computers. Then for lunch Mr. Randle grabs food and heads back to the office. Everyone in the technology building eats together for lunch family-style.
He said, “I have an awesome work family. We sit around a big table. I like to run to Holy Smokes BBQ food truck. They are the sweetest people. I would give them my money every day.”
When not busy at work, Mr. Randle loves to hunt and fish, especially kayak fishing in the ocean.
“It’s awesome. When you catch a fish, it pulls the kayak. You have to be careful not to flip. Coming in can be scary,” he said.
Even though Mr. Randle isn’t specifically using his political science degrees, he said political science is simply a study of people, and that we deal with people every day. Plus, he loves working with kids.
“The number one thing for kids to understand is you can find a connection with everyone. You can be diplomatic. You can always find something in common, if you try,” said Mr. Randle.
Thank you, Mr. Randle, for doing your job joyfully with the ultimate goal of making sure our students have the best technology up and running. Your enthusiasm is contagious!