Crosby-Huffman Chamber welcomes New Educators to the community

By David Taylor

Since 1989, the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce has hosted the New Educator’s Luncheon to welcome new teachers and administrators to the community. On Wednesday, July 26, and 35 years later, the chamber gathered in the gym at Crosby Church with more than 250 in attendance, one of the largest crowds ever with approximately 170 educators.

“It’s definitely in correlation to the growth we’re seeing in the Crosby community,” said Kim Harris, president of the chamber.

Ten years ago, it became difficult for the chamber to sponsor all the teachers by paying for their lunch so each year they have solicited a sponsor.

“It takes a load off of us and we appreciate our sponsors,” she said.

This year’s luncheon was underwritten by Harris County Pct. 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey, and the goodie bags provided by JLA Realty.

It not only signals the start of the school year, but it is only the second time in the 35 years that they have held the event in late July.

“With the start of school getting pushed earlier and earlier, we have to hold it in late July to make sure our teachers have supplies and get goodie bags to take with them,” Harris said.

Harris was also able to wrangle up 150-plus door prizes to be given away during the drawing.

“We hope the door prizes and the luncheon helps connect newcomers to the business community and shows them they have our support,” she said at the luncheon.

While the chamber endured some tough times during the pandemic losing some members, Harris said they are on the upward climb and hope to keep adding more as the new housing developments bring in new business.

Superintendent Dr. Benny Soileau said Huffman ISD is in good shape going into the new year.

“All of our open positions have been filled for day one,” Soileau said.

Not all of those were new positions, but some will be key for the future.

“We have a new chief operations officer which will be critical in regard to the growth we’re seeing in Huffman,” he said.

The new COO will direct auxiliary services as well as bond efforts, and current construction projects currently underway. Part of those new additions include instructional coaches to enhance teaching and assist teachers.

“We have an incredible level of talent that we brought into the district this year and we’re looking for incredible results,” the superintendent said.

Like most districts, both Crosby and Huffman are waiting to see what the state will do during the special session in October when legislators return to debate and iron out a possible voucher program.

Soileau said a committee of 100-plus community members have been meeting to iron out details for a potential bond election in November.

The slate of projects presented to the board could be voted on at a special meeting called for Aug. 7.

Just days ago, each campus took delivery of a portable building to accommodate some of the growth.

“We’re working with architects to develop the plan to make sure that the sites are accommodating fiber, utilities, restrooms, and it’s a secure place,” Soileau said.

In Crosby, construction is already underway on the new addition to the high school that will hold another 600 students.

Superintendent Paula Patterson said before the luncheon that the district is ready for the start of the four-day school year. The first month begins with a five-day schedule and switches in September to the four-day schedule.

The district also has new leadership at Crosby Middle and Crosby High schools. Jose Lozano, who spent the last five years in LaPorte ISD, becomes the new principal at Crosby Middle School. Lozano is also a doctoral student at Lamar University in Beaumont. Brad Hadnot begins the school year as the new principal at Crosby High School. Hadnot has 20 years of experience in education, all of them in Dayton ISD.

Patterson urged educators to keep smiling.

“Just like you’re smiling now about the feelings you feel today, I want to see the same on May 30,” she said.

She told educators that research shows most teachers realize the honeymoon is over in October.

“Continue no matter what’s going on and no matter what we may be facing. Continue to have that passion that’s burning on the inside of you right now for your students. That’s what they need and deserve every single day,” Patterson said.