I love quotes. They speak to me. They guide me. They inspire me.
June 17 was a monumental board meeting where the trustees voted unanimously to approve significant teacher salary increases at Lufkin ISD. Voting on a decision takes only a few minutes. Preparing, researching, crunching numbers after numbers, making executive decisions, presenting recommendations, while praying for guidance, takes countless hours, days and months.
Yet, after the exhilaration of the moment when I realized we all came together for the betterment of our teachers, other issues needed my attention. Needless to say, there was not much time to celebrate our big accomplishment. After the board meeting ended, I was working into the night when I received a text from someone in the community whom I admire greatly. The text message praised the board and administration for the teacher raises and ended with the words, “Keep up the good work.”
I responded to this community member that it was a lot of hard work but our teachers and students were worth it, and I received the following text back, “Nothing great is ever easy.”
I am not an emotional person, but I felt tears prick my eyes. It was an “Aha!” moment for me. Nothing great is ever easy. I immediately wrote that down. It’s not just a trivial quote but a mantra, a realization that hard work does pay off, but it’s still hard.
Throughout this past year, I’ve learned that change is not easy. My family and I have changed residence, my husband changed jobs and our children changed schools. I remember when the realization that we were moving to Lufkin became apparent. My daughter became uncertain about her future stability and wondered about and questioned everything including would she have any friends in Lufkin, would the teachers be nice in Lufkin, and how would her grandparents be able to attend her school events? At one point, my husband even chimed in with the question if our kids get sick, who will pick them up from school and who would be able to support us if we needed help?
After being in Lufkin for only a year, my family and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Our daughter has met some great friends. Both of our kids had excellent teachers. My mother and father-in-law drove to Lufkin to attend Grandparents’ Day at Brandon Elementary. When my son became sick and had a prolonged seizure, we were immediately engulfed with support from EMS, Memorial Hospital, Dr. Fidone, Dr. Benitez, school personnel and community members. The change has not been easy for my family, but the joy that I see in my daughter as she grows as a leader, a learner and a dancer and the proximity to high quality health care services for my son, makes it great.
A year later, I am blessed and honored professionally to serve as superintendent of Lufkin ISD. The work that we are engaged in is the most challenging, the most demanding, and the most significant. Overcoming the challenge of securing raises for our teachers was not easy; however, I believe that having the best teachers who are the best paid is essential to having the best-prepared students. When the work gets hard, we must remember the words of one wise community member, “Nothing great is ever easy!”