Teachers are at the heart of everything we do at Lufkin ISD, and we are blessed to have the very best. I recently hosted a New Teacher reception for our 2016-17 new teachers to get feedback on their first year at Lufkin ISD. It was so amazing and encouraging to hear what each of our new teachers had to say about their proudest moment of the year. Each testimony could have easily been a commercial for why they chose Lufkin. One teacher said she had traveled the world, and Lufkin ISD is the best place to be. It also took me back to my teaching years and reminded me of how rewarding teaching can be.
I loved listening to the stories about the “light bulb” moments in the classroom. We have several new teachers who work with our special education students, and one of the things I am very proud of is the fact that we add value to all students. One teacher in particular who works with special needs children said, “We’ll hear some say, ‘You’re wasting your time. They can’t.’ And then we do.” That’s what I love about Lufkin ISD. We do.
Another teacher said her proudest moment was hearing students in her dual language class who are second-language learners read in Spanish for the first time. They talked about the sweet notes and kind words from the students. They talked about how they are the only constant in some of their students’ lives. They talked about how their students feel safe with them with one teacher responding “Lufkin Loves.” Lufkin does love — especially the children in this town.
Some of our new teachers discussed their personal proud moments this year. One mentioned being accepted into our Aspiring Leaders Academy, which is a content-focused, professional development program to help teachers and instructional coaches grow professionally as leaders in the district. The program has mentorship opportunities along with networking and leadership talks featuring community and business leaders. It has been so much fun to watch this group grow in their leadership abilities. One new teacher that was a mom in the group talked about how Lufkin ISD has helped her own child to be successful by finding the resources available when no other school was able to help. Another teacher pointed to a new Lufkin teacher in the room and stated her proudest moment was her own child being in that teacher’s class this year and what a difference she has made. One teacher proudly announced that she had passed her ESL certification. It’s all of these personal accomplishments that add up to the kind of teachers we have, teachers that are constantly making themselves better and growing to make a difference.
Our new teacher reception was just a glimpse of all of the good things going on in the classroom. Some teachers with tears in their eyes spoke about their students and how much they care for them. It was so touching to see their heartfelt love of teaching. The dedication we have from our teachers is second to none. I am so proud of the job they do to make Lufkin ISD the best choice for education.
In May we will celebrate our Teachers of the Year at our annual awards banquet. Help me celebrate the following as our 2016-2017 Lufkin ISD Teachers of the Year: Molly White — ACE; Stephen Bristow — Anderson Elementary; Lori Meadows — Brandon Elementary; Susan Liles — Brookhollow Elementary; Marian Slover — Burley Primary; Teri Watson — Coston Elementary; Lori Bennett — Dunbar Primary; Gay Campbell — Garrett Primary; Barbara Stubblefield — Hackney Primary; Cynthia Lewis — Herty Primary; Dianne Hufford — Kurth Primary; Cessali Strickland — Lufkin High School; Molly Ellis — Lufkin Middle School; Rebecca Acker — Slack Elementary; and Katie Yeary — Trout Primary.
LaTonya Goffney is the superintendent of Lufkin ISD. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This column originally appeared in The Lufkin News.