Great teachers ... great students ... great leaders ... great success. There are so many reasons to feel blessed every day.

This year PCA received an “A” rating for the second year. That puts the school in the top 13.3% of all school districts in the state of Texas.

We are blessed and feel incredibly proud of our teachers and students. I am proud of the hard work of our teachers and administrators.

I remain a skeptic of the A-F accountability system and still think it has a hidden agenda filled with political consequences.

Even with concerns surrounding the reasoning for the accountability system, I am pleased with the academic focus of the entire Angelina County area.

How many counties in the state have every school district with an 80 or above?

How many school districts have a community college that welcomes students as graciously as ours?

Lufkin and surrounding areas are blessed that there are so many outstanding educational leaders whose sole intent is to press learning as the launching pad to greater success. We have leaders that work to add educational strength to every child every year, every day.

Great educators deserve recognition because of what they do for kids. Even with a system for evaluation that will never be perfect, people who work with kids should be appreciated.

Consider a kindergarten teacher with 18 5-year-old children, some who have never attended a school. How about a middle school teacher with students trying to learn their identities and figure out how to “fit in”?

What about all the work our coaches do every day developing character in our kids, with the huge stipend of 52 cents per hour? Or our school nurses who care for an ailing child while monitoring the weather outside for unsafe hot or cold temperatures? Paraprofessionals who sometimes do as much as a “pair of professionals”?

Think about the custodians and cafeteria workers who clean up after us all, even after an upset stomach manifests itself. And the bus personnel who arrive early and stay late to deliver our children safely. The crossing guards and police officers who work in the cold, rain and heat for our kids.

Or, school administrators who stay late waiting for a parent to pick up their child, or the evenings they attend ball games, theatrical plays and, sometimes, student events outside of school.

Why should we all be thankful rather than judgmental? Every one of these people give of themselves for our kids.

When you recognize, appreciate and celebrate success, you lift the spirits of all the people who shoulder the load of caring for our kids.

It is not just a score or a measure. Our schools do far more. The question is, “How do you measure success?” This rating is for the communities where we serve as a marker of our success.

Have you ever considered who is responsible to make the difference we see in communities? Maybe we should measure the success of our schools by the same measure we have of our community.

If we measured Angelina County, would we receive an “A” rating in all of the following areas: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?

As goes the community, so goes the school because within your community resides each local school district. That’s kind of obvious, right? Why would we expect more of school leaders and teachers than we do of ourselves and our community?

This month I challenge all of us to start with kindness and patience. I am certain the other values listed above will follow. If we all work just a little at improving ourselves, what a wonderful world it would be.

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