New School Year Kicks Off at Convocation ’21


Teachers and staff returned to work Wednesday with Convocation 2021 kicking things off for the new year.

“Although there were many changes last year, what hasn’t changed is the commitment and faithfulness of the faculty and staff at Lindale,” Superintendent Stan Surratt said.

To start things off, Pastor Bruce Rudd of Mt. Sylvan Baptist Church led the invocation and Lindale alum Casey Rivers sang the national anthem and ‘Proud to Be An American.’  The administration played videos of congratulations from Lindale alumni Miranda Lambert and Kelli Finglass, as well as former students, teachers, and local politicians and school administrators.

“I am so proud and so thrilled to call myself a Lindale alum,” Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Director Kelli Finglass said. “I am wholeheartedly convinced that my confidence and preparation and my humility all came from growing up in Lindale. I believe that there is always one teacher or employee that can make a difference in the life of a child.”

The Education Foundation gave out over 50 prizes to teachers and staff that were donated from local businesses, and reported that over 20 thousand dollars was given out last year in the form of grants.

The special speaker for Convocation 2021 was Damon West, author of  ‘The Coffee Bean‘ and ‘The Change Agent.’  West spoke about overcoming a life of drugs and bad choices, including what he learned about getting through great trials with the metaphor of the coffee bean that had been told to him by a fellow inmate in prison.

“Life will knock you down, but you have a choice at every fork in the road,” West said. “Your past does not define you– your past is your lesson. The present is a gift.  The future is your motivation.”

Superintendent Stan Surratt gave a state of the district review, including the multiple state championships and accomplishments from every campus as well as the excellent STAAR scores from last year.  Additionally, award-winning teachers were recognized.  Nikki Groth and Amy Thompson were the district’s Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year last year, with Thompson also being awarded the Region 7 Teacher of the Year honor.  Junior High teacher Betsy Campbell was also named the Kinzie Foundation Award winner.

“It’s incredible what our kids are doing,” Surratt said.  “Lindale has the highest scores across the region.”

To conclude the event, Surratt and Deputy Superintendent Jamie Holder announced that teachers would receive $1000 retention checks for their hard work and dedication to the district. Teachers will participate in professional development trainings and work days this week, and students return on August 18.

“Each year as August rolls around, I get more and more excited about seeing all my new students for the upcoming school year,” theater director Taylor Jarman said. “Getting back on schedule and shining up new lessons builds such a sense of energy about the potential we have to change lives.”