Superintendent's life shows transformative power of education

The State Board of Education in April recognized Lufkin Superintendent LaTonya Goffney as the Texas Superintendent of the Year and she passionately reminded them of the lifechanging power of public education.

“The one thing that everyone needs to know is that there is power in education. Only through public education is my story even possible. There was nothing about my past that would have predicted that I would be superintendent or that I would receive this state recognition” said Goffney, who was born to a 15-year-old single mother and never knew her father.

She lived a childhood of frequent moves and witnessed drug abuse and domestic violence and only found a stable home when her grandmother gained custody of her.

“In addition to the love of my grandmother, what made a difference was what happened at my school. I had teachers who loved me. I had principals who believed in me. I was told I was smart... I was able to become the first person in my family to graduate from college.’’

Goffney went on to become a teacher and an administrator. She has served as the superintendent of the Lufkin Independent School District since 2013. During her tenure, the district has expanded its communications efforts with the community and created a collaborative culture, focused on improving literacy skills.

Late last year Goffney was selected as the 2018 Texas nominee for the National Superintendent of the Year award. This program, now in its 32nd year, is sponsored here by the Texas Association of School Administrators and nationally by the American Association of School Administrators. Goffney was also named the 2017 Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards.

"Her leadership ability is unlike anything I've ever seen," said SBOE member Keven Ellis, who is a former Lufkin school board president.

Goffney's focus is on transforming lives. “What I tell my staff is, ‘We aren’t responsible for how kids come to us. We are responsible for how they leave us.’ Education is the key to success.”

 “Our kids are graduating, not with just a high school diploma. They are graduating with choices and opportunities.”

She reminded the volunteers who serve on the State Board of Education, “On your worst day when you are having a meeting and people aren’t getting along…, you are still some child’s best hope.”

To view Goffney’s entire speech to the SBOE, go to