Dr. Bonnie Longnion is known throughout the community for her years of service on the Humble ISD Board of Trustees, but some people may not know that she wears many other hats. Longnion, who is active statewide and in her community as an advocate for education, was president of the Humble ISD board last year, succeeded by Charles Cunningham in June 2012. “I have had the honor to serve on the school board since Sept. 1988 – 24 years – and have held all of the office positions – president, vice president, secretary and parliamentarian – four times over the years,” said Longnion. “As an educator for 42 years, it has been a wonderful opportunity to channel my passion into service for the school district,” she said. “I served as the president of the Texas Association of School Boards (7,300 school board members) in 2003, and once again, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to witness student challenges and successes across diverse school districts.” Educator, author, literacy advocate and community leader – Longnion recently shared her passion about “Literacy” at the Aug. 1 meeting of the Rotary Club of Humble Intercontinental. Longnion was introduced to the Rotarians as someone who had dedicated her life to “literacy” through her teaching experience and her service on the school board. She expounded on some of the current data which reflects literacy challenges for adults, some at-risk students in colleges and universities, and some populations in the public schools. Longnion is currently working on a presentation that outlines the positive initiatives that are occurring internationally, nationally and locally. Reflecting on her own elementary school days, Longnion recalled the effect learning to read had on her at an early age. “When I was in first grade, I could not believe that the first word I learned, ‘up,’ described my action on the slide on the playground,” she recalled. “It was a significant moment in my life. That is where the seed for my lifetime interest and focus began.” “Regardless of my job or service position,” she continued, “I have always placed literacy as a high priority for students. It is the foundation for all learning. I have always monitored the progress of reading and writing performance on public assessment and test scores. Humble ISD has performed well over the years.” When it comes to literacy programs in Humble ISD, Longnion shared this insight. “I know that the curriculum and instructional leaders and teachers utilize the best practices for setting up the learning environment, selection of materials and evidence-based strategies for students,” she said. “It is important to personalize the learning experience for the students. I admire and respect the role and work of all our teachers in challenging, inspiring and supporting our students in their learning. But I know that K through fourth grade teachers really have a special challenge and that is the responsibility of ensuring literacy learning by 4th grade.” Longnion stressed that teachers and parents share the responsibility of modeling reading and instilling the love and the value for reading and writing. “It is important that these young readers have lots of opportunities to read books that match their interests,” said Longnion. According to Longnion, Humble ISD has invested in the placement of instructional coaches at the elementary schools to support the teachers in their efforts to incorporate “best practices” strategies in their classrooms. “Both principals and teachers have expressed value for this fairly new initiative,” she stated. Longnion said she believes that every principal, teacher and educational support staff member has worked very hard to ensure that students comprehend what they experience in their learning environment. “The ability to read, write, listen and speak are critical to the students’ success,” Longnion said. “I would note that there are three leaders in the educational support staff division (in Humble ISD) that have championed literacy skills. These individuals are Marie Flynn, Joni McEvoy and Nancy Fitzgerald.” Longnion has always lived in Texas, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and Master in Education from Lamar University in Beaumont. In 1982, she earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Reading Specialization from Texas A & M University. During the course of 42 years, Longnion’s life followed her passion for literacy. The more she immersed herself in the critical work of teaching, executing, evaluating and researching literacy and learning, she became more energized and committed to the work “I taught language arts in elementary, secondary, special education, adult education and developmental education environments,” said Longnion. “I have taught education courses in the community college, university and private college environment. I have contributed to several publications, and I have been a college administrator for 27 years.” Longnion wrote and executed multiple state and national grants that contributed to literacy work, and she has served as a consultant in diverse environments. “A special interest of mine was the phenomenon of teaching non-reading adults,” she said. “There is nothing more rewarding than to witness an adult or a child ‘begin’ to read. It is a skill that transforms the personal learning journey that leads to an educated and productive environment.” Longnion has been a Kingwood resident since 1984, when she had the opportunity to become a founding member of Lone Star College – Kingwood. She retired three years ago from the Lone Star College System, and began to teach reading education courses for the University of Houston-Downtown. She is a Senior Fellow of the Gulf Coast/Houston American Leadership Forum, serves as past president of the Houston YWCA Board, and was vice-president of the Artesian Humble Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association, where she was chosen as a Top Ten Candidate. Longnion was reared in a large Cajun family, and still has many members of her family living in the Houston/Port Arthur area. She has two adult children who attended Humble ISD. Her daughter has just begun a new role as Senior Director, Business Transformation, North America Coca-Cola, and her son is completing his anesthesiology residency at the University of North Carolina. “I have been a single parent since 1984, and my former husband and I have worked together to support our children’s personal and educational growth,” said Longnion. “I am proud of both of my adult children. A good foundation in literacy has allowed them to develop into competent, responsible, and contributing citizens!” Photo: Dr. Bonnie Longnion, right, with Rotary Club of Humble Intercontinental President Darryal Chandler following her presentation on the topic of “Literacy” at the Aug. 1 meeting. Photo by Trilla Cook

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location