Being enthusiastic, adventurous, and always curious to learn is just part of Vada Hughes’ DNA. Not only that, she loves to talk about DNA, as well as environmental science, matter, energy, Earth science, because she is perfectly suited for her position as the Director of Science and Social Studies K-5 for the district.
She said, “There is a solution to every problem.”
Mrs. Hughes works tirelessly to make sure that teachers have the solutions they need to be successful in the classroom in both science and social studies.
Mrs. Hughes said, “Anything they need on the campus. I love getting to know the teachers and getting to know their teaching style. I love helping them to find their niche, where they can help kids be successful. I appreciate working for Lufkin. There is no limit to what we can do for students.”
Among some of her duties include meeting with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade science teachers. She works closely with the district’s STEM Coordinator, Suzy Jungmann. She presents and participates in events, such as Lend-A-Hand at Garrett Primary, LMS Adopt-A-Second Grade, 4th Grade Exploration Day, the Ellen Trout Zoo Feeding Lab, Burley Primary’s Science Club, and Coston’s Science Day, to name a few. She is housed at the new District of Education Center (DEC) but often can be found on campuses.
Mrs. Hughes graduated from Everman High School in Ft. Worth. She met the love of her life at age 14 (and consequently has been married to him for 48 years). Mrs. Hughes participated in drama in high school. Although to know Mrs. Hughes, you would assume she was front and center stage, but she was way more comfortable behind the scenes making the magic happen. She had aspirations to become either a teacher or an airline attendant.
When she met Kenneth Hughes, he was19-years-old and had just joined the Navy. The two met in Sunday school, and he says he knew immediately he was going to marry her. Years later, the couple did marry and began their adventures across Texas, California, and New Mexico when Kenneth worked in the railroad. The two settled in Lufkin where Mrs. Hughes’ family lived. They raised their two children, Joshua and Heather, in the Lufkin School District. After years of being a mom, Mrs. Hughes went to Stephen F. Austin State University and received her degree to teach, which was her lifelong goal.
“Mr. Torres was the principal at Coston Elementary. He hired me, and I was there 10 years. I then went to Anderson Elementary and stayed 11 years,” said Mrs. Hughes.
After her career in the classroom, she accepted the district position to support teachers in science and social studies, which is her passion.
Mrs. Hughes starts her day at 4:30 a.m. and enjoys her coffee and quiet time. She has a Corgi named Beezus that she lets out before she gets her day started. Although she begins her day early, she said her number one challenge is having enough hours in the day.
Not only is she working at Lufkin ISD, but she’s a volunteer for the Red Cross.
She said, “If I’m called in an emergency, I go. I have rubber boots and first-aid equipment in my car. If I come up on a wreck, I can help.”
She began her volunteer work when the Red Cross did a presentation after Hurricane Sandy at the church she attended .
Mrs. Hughes said, “I went to Chireno for a house fire in a poor neighborhood. After the firemen left, I asked the family how we can help with clothes and money. The couple had three kids. This big burly guy just broke down crying. I thought ‘I’ve got to do something to help. I have been blessed with so much.’”
Mrs. Hughes loves to sing in the choir and dance with her husband of 48 years.
She said, “Texas two step, Cha Cha, Cajun dancing, you name it!”
When asked her secret to success for a long marriage, she said, “Commitment. No matter what.”
She and her husband have three grandchildren. Mrs. Hughes and her sister, Lisa, supply a vintage booth called Sassy Sisters at the Nacogdoches Antique Market. They love to buy and sell vintage items. Lisa is 12 years difference being the baby of the family, and the girls have two “cowboy” brothers.
Mrs. Hughes beams when she talks about her love for her job and co-workers at Lufkin ISD.
She said, “Lufkin is so good to me. God is so good. I have a fantastic team in a fantastic district!”
Mrs. Hughes, you light up the district with your infectious smile and desire to spread the joy of science and social studies to our students. Thank you for continuing to learn and support our teachers with all your best.