- Judson Independent School District
Everyone gets hugs from Principal Lofton at Franz Leadership Academy
Dr. Kelle Lofton, Principal at Franz Leadership Academy, has spent over half her life learning and leading at Judson ISD. She has walked the halls of eight campuses as a student at Miller’s Point, Kitty Hawk and Judson High School, a teacher at Spring Meadows and Park Village, and an administrator at Park Village, Masters and Metzger.
She is now in her seventh year as Principal at Franz, a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.
“Keeping my kids and staff safe is my number one job. Physically safe, emotionally and mentally safe - whatever that looks like for each person,” Lofton said.
Sometimes at Franz, it looks like a ton of hugs. She says she is an elementary principal to her core. She gives out hugs all day long to kids and grown-ups. As she walked out of her office, a young staff member was waiting for her.
“She’s waiting for her daily hug,” Lofton said.
She knows that taking care of people is important to their success. She fosters a sense of belonging on her campus and within the community.
“Community is huge. Live Oak is an incredible community. Honestly, they embrace us so well and so fully, and any little thing that we need, they're there,” Lofton said.
Recently, Franz participated in Live Oak’s Shindig on Shin Oak. They had bubbles, chalk, and engaged with their community and families.
“We think it's important for our kids to see that it's good for them to go out and help in the community, just like the community comes in and helps us. We work on community service and build that in our kids too. It’s an important part of leadership,” Lofton said.
She also models leadership for her staff and students by being a continuous learner. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership in 2021. And while she has been a principal for years, she continues to seek more learning opportunities. Recently, she was chosen for the Thompson Executive Leadership Institute, one of only 22 principals statewide.
Lofton’s desire to continue finding new ways to improve as a leader helps her navigate what she says is the greatest challenge of being a principal - constant change.
“Everything is always changing. There is not a day that you walk in and there's something that's the same. You always have several plates spinning at the same time. You have a mental checklist a mile long and all day you're trying to just get that checklist done while also being what teachers need and what kids need and what parents need,” Lofton said.
It’s a job she loves and she wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else. Her Judson roots run deep and her commitment to the school community is unwavering. She believes that Judson ISD is One Home One Family.
“I definitely chose Judson. It’s home. There is just something kind of magical about Judson that you can't really put your finger on. And, yeah, it's the only place I want to be.