Just after spring break, Lindsey Lumpkin became an assistant principal at Edward K. Downing Elementary School.
Starting off as an assistant principal, she will officially take charge July 1, replacing Marcos Lopez, the campus’ founding principal. Lumpkin has been with Ector County ISD off and on for almost 12 years.
She was at the Region 18 Education Service Center for a few years in the English language arts area and returned to ECISD to become a principal.
Before coming to Downing, Lumpkin was an assistant principal at Cavazos Elementary just down the road from Downing.
Born in the Dallas area, Lumpkin moved to Odessa when she was a child, so she is an ECISD product. She started her higher education experience at Odessa College in high school earning dual credit hours and then transferred to University of Texas Permian Basin.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in history from UTPB and six years later returned for a master’s in educational leadership. Recently, she earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Texas Tech University.
Lumpkin’s mother is an educator, her grandfather was an educator and she has aunts and sisters-in-law in the profession. But while her family was leaning toward education for her, Lumpkin wanted to pursue vocal performance.
“… I grew up at First Baptist Church, so with a large church we were given lots of opportunities to be able to sing and travel and do things. I went to New York as a teenager and I was like Broadway it is. That’s where I want to be. You get the stars in your eyes. I really wanted to go off to college and pursue music; (I) hated theory. That’s kind of a prerequisite and something that you have to contend with. I couldn’t find the means to go off and pay for college on my own, because I just didn’t want a lot of student debt after my father passed away, so I just ended up staying local. It ended up benefiting me greatly, so I was happy to stay,” Lumpkin said.
In her education career, she started at the high school level and then went to middle school.
“Of course that first year in middle school I thought I’ll never survive … (But) for whatever reason, they capture your heart. They’re little people dealing with big-world problems at home … That’s what I came to love. They would just come and sit down or voluntarily give you that information in class. … They just ended up trusting me and I just had this huge bond with kids after that and just fell in love with kids.”
Lumpkin spent nine years as a classroom teacher and this is going on her seventh year in administration. She was at Region 18 for three years.
When she returned to ECISD, she was placed at Cavazos as an assistant principal.
“Being at Region 18 helped to give me a foundation of elementary education because we were in the ELAR department for k-12, so it didn’t matter if I was in a high school, middle school or an elementary, we were going to learn something or strategies to help them out. Once I got there, I learned that it was a lot more in depth, and foundationally, the curriculum was … intense.”
And the learning curve was great. But having been in the upper grades and coming down to the lower ones helped her show the students what they would need to know when they got older.
“So do I love elementary? Yes. These kids, they give you hugs; they like you; they love school; they want to be here. That’s the joy of us getting to be part their schooling experience and to foster the love of learning. That’s what we want is to keep that fire burning so that when they go to high school and college they still … want to learn,” Lumpkin said.
Downing has a little under 850 students and two assistant principals, including elementary assistant principal of the year Zealia Jenkins. The Nacero gas plant planned for a site near Penwell is expected to push that growth to more than 900, she said.
“Right now we feel like we’re busting at the seams,” Lumpkin said.
Since she arrived at Downing, Lumpkin said she has felt welcome.
“The climate, the culture here is alive; it’s thriving; it’s kind; and as I was working through some things I saw how people really wanted to work hard and they cared for these kids. From the moment that they step out of the cars in the morning to the moment we put them back in their parents’ vehicles for that day, it’s just a neat atmosphere. It’s supportive; caring. I felt very at home here,” Lumpkin said.
As for her goals for Downing, she said she wants the culture to stay the same.
“I want kids to enjoy coming here. I want them to feel welcomed and appreciated and loved; the same thing for the parents in the community here, as well as our teachers. They work really hard to try to provide a safe environment for our kids and a loving environment for them in the classroom and foster that love of learning. They’re looking forward to bringing them back post COVID. We’re really rolling out next year to hopefully have every kid back on campus and everybody’s alive and wanting to learn. That’s exciting to me …”
She wants to look at creating a mission and vision statement that is ideal and supported by everyone on campus.
“… I really want it to be a joint effort in terms of everybody joining in and owning it,” Lumpkin added.
One of the hard parts will be filling Lopez’ shoes. He has served as principal of E.K. Downing for six years, since the school opened in 2015. Lopez has been with ECISD since 1997 — 24 years including five years as a classroom teacher and 19 as a campus administrator. Lopez is leaving to be a leadership consultant at Region 18.
“I believe Dr. Lumpkin will lead this campus to add wonderful success to this school and this community. When Dr. Lumpkin arrived after 3/4 of the year was completed (I think it was March), she immediately dived into the work that … needed to be done. It was like after the previous administrator leaving and simply handing the baton to her to finish the race,” Lopez said in an email.
“She immediately connected with students and staff. She has a wonderful personality that she has already and will continue to build relationships with students, staff, parents, and this community. Dr. Lumpkin shared with me that she grew up not far from Murry Fly Elementary, which tells me that her serving our students in West Odessa is like coming home. I wish her and the rest of the staff the very best this upcoming school. I will be looking in a distance to see the continued success of E.K. Downing Elementary. It is an honor to work alongside Dr. Lumpkin and I do believe I will be leaving EK Downing in great hands.”
Lumpkin and her husband, Eric, have two four-legged friends, a German shepherd named Ruger, and a cross breed named Traveler.