There are so many things to be thankful for over the past few months.

This past legislative session, Pineywoods Community Academy was richly supported by state Rep. Trent Ashby and state Sen. Robert Nichols as they supported increases for our teachers and additional funding for our school. We cannot thank them enough for making sure that PCA was treated equally.

PCA’s board of directors was excited to approve the new funding package for our staff. The beginning salary for new teachers is $45,600, an increase of $3,917.

The board also approved the greatest salary increase in years for staff members. Teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses averaged 8%, other staff not including administrators averaged 7% and administrators were given an average raise of 6%.

The board generously gave raises for staff well above the state requirements from House Bill 3. The board, once again, was determined to fund the entire teacher portion of the insurance requirements of $372 a month for our staff.

Gov. Greg Abbott officially determined that October is principal appreciation month. Pineywoods Community Academy is blessed with some great academic leaders with hearts for children.

This is evident by the increase in distinctions for the district and back-to-back “A” ratings from the Texas Education Agency.

We are blessed to have Lacey Coleman, Jennifer Shaw, Shane McGown and Laura Jones leading our schools. They work extremely hard for the safety and success of our students.

Recently, Gary Stallard wrote a column about bragging on others. I wonder what our city would be like if everyone looked first for something to brag about rather than to complain. There are some great people that brighten the room upon entry, however there are others that are simply “grumpy cats.”

It seems that no matter what is said or done, they are not happy and nothing seems to be able to help them be happy. I applaud his article and pray that we are all working toward “bragging about Lufkin.”

Last month, I asked what the world be like if we added kindness and patience to our daily determination. This month, begin every morning determined to bring joy and peace into our community while making sure to provide a measure of forbearance. You know how it feels to hold a newborn child. You understand the joy experienced and the peace that it brings as that baby falls asleep in your arms.

We live in a great community with generally a loving spirit filled with high appreciation for those that protect us, monitor our children and lead the band as we all move forward developing a community of caring community members.

Never allow a “grumpy cat” to steal your day. It’s your day to make a difference and show someone in this community that you appreciate what they are doing for you rather than fuss about what you expect them to do for you.

All it takes is a simple paradigm shift in our way of thinking.

Go Lufkin Texas, grow Lufkin Texas, let us all create raving fans.

Ken Vaughn is the director of Pineywoods Community Academy. His email address is

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