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Councilman Robert Shankle, President

Councilman Robert Shankle was elected to Lufkin City Council as Councilmember of Ward 2 on May 9, 2009.  He received his education in the Lufkin Independent School system and graduated from Lufkin High School in the Class of 1985. A Desert Storm Disable Veteran, Councilman Shankle served in the United States Army, National Guard, and US Army Reserve for a total of 14 years. He has assisted in founding several committees for the benefit of the community including The Lufkin Pro Day Group, The Neighborhood Leadership Council of North Lufkin, and Clergy and Police Alliance (CAPA). Councilman Shankle is a member of Texas Association of Black City Council Members and National Black Caucus of Local Elected officials. Councilman Shankle received the Eagle Award from The Citizen Chamber Of Commerce in 2017 and a graduate of Leadership Lufkin in 2012, Home Town Hero Award in 2013. Councilman Shankle is a member of The Church by Christ Jesus where he is very active.  Additionally, he serves his community in the following membership capacities:

  • 4B Economic Development Board

  • Impact Lufkin

  • Citizen Fire Academy Alumni

  • United Way Board

  • Angelina County & Cities Heath Coalition Board

  • African American Alzheimer's Alliance Board

  • Lufkin Convention Visitors Bureau Board

  • Leadership Lufkin Committee Board

  • Lufkin Pro Day Group

  • Neighborhood Leadership Council Of North Lufkin

  • DECTOG Board

  • Angelina County Economic Development Partnership Board

  • Clergy and Police Alliance


  • Mosaic Center Board

  • Coalition Board

Patricia McKenzie, Vice President

Educational Background: 1987-Texas A&M University, College Station, Doctor of Education; 1968-University of Pittsburgh, Master of Public Health (Nursing focus); 1963-Prairie View A&M University,Bachelor of Science in Nursing; 1996 Harvard University Institute for Educational Management.

Employment Experiences: 1 Angelina College-1987-2016, Vice President and Dean of Instruction (formerly Dean of Instruction and Admissions); 1976-1988, Associate  Director of Health Careers; 1969-1976, Nursing Instructor.2. 1968-1969, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Community Health Nursing Instructor; 1963-1965, Wichita Falls ISD School Nurse and Health Education Instructor; Other work 195-1967, Peace Corp Volunteer, Dominican Republic as Nursing Instructor.

Memberships/Community Service: Angelina Public Health Coalition, grant program with Angelina County and  Cities Health District;The Mosaic Center-Christian Women Job Corp Program, Board of Directors; The Coalition, Board of Directors and Chair of Family Friendly Festivals; CHI St. Luke's Health San Augustine, Advisory Board after completing 22 years on Board of Memorial Medical Center of East Texas; Texas College, Board of Trustees;  Life member of NAACP; Angelina Rotary Club, Charter member (1990); Sigma Tau, International Honor Society of Nursing, Prairie View A&M Chapter

Recognition/Awards: 2016-The Eagle Award from the Angelina County Citizens Chamber of Commerce and the ATHENA Leadership Award from the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce  2015-Outstanding Dedication to Education in the Lufkin  Community from Dunbar High School Alumni Ass. and Wall of Honor for supporting the Athletic Program and promoting S.O.A.P.( Success Oriented Athletic Program); 2013-Meritorious Service from the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges; 2012-Salute to Healthcare, Individual of Merit from the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce; 2000-Rotary International- District 5910 Roll of Fame; 1993-Silver  Spike for Community Service from the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce; Inducted into the Dunbar  High School of Honor.

Church Commitments: Active member of Long Chapel CME Church as Director of Christian Education ,Sunday School teacher of youth, Chair of Trustees and Choir; Houston District, Vice-President of Board of Christian Education; Southeast Texas Region, President of Stewardess Board, Leadership Director of Board of Christian Education and member of Board of Truestees; Eighth Episcopal District as Health Coordinator; CME Connectional level as member of the General Personnel Services Board.


Becky Eldridge-Clark, ALA, Secretary


Becky Eldridge-Clark and her husband Clarence are residents of Lufkin.  They are proud parents of a blended family of 6 children.  Most are now grown and leading lives of their own, the youngest is at home and attends Lufkin High School.  In her spare time, Becky enjoys volunteering and spending time with friends and family.  Becky has a compassion for serving others and developing ideas and services that can better serve the Lufkin community.  Her compassion for helping others is displayed in her work, as well as her personal life. 


Becky’s professional career has been focused on the betterment of the community with extensive experience in both the for profit and non-profit sectors. Becky serves as a member of the Angelina/Nacogdoches County Advisory Board., She also serves as the Board President of Crossroads Family Care, a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center that provides healthcare services to the underserved populations. She is a member of the Angelina Health District Coalition, and volunteers with various projects throughout the Lufkin and Angelina County.


Becky is committed to working with the community for the community!




Rufus Duncan, Treasurer

 Mr. Duncan has worked as a CEO of Higginbotham Holdings, Ltd for over 20 years; in addition, to his seat as President of Lufkin Distribution & Supply, Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Trinity University. Mr. Duncan was Councilman of the City of Lufkin City and has been a board member of many non-profits. Mr. Duncan has been married for 35 years and is a Senior Warden of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church.





Archie Cornish

Ms. Archie Jenkins Cornish is a Professional Tax Preparer and CEO of AC Income Tax Ministry. Ms. Cornish has served and worked in the community for many years as a Community Activist. She has had several roles over the years: Election Judge for the City of Lufkin and Angelina County, active member of the political arena, Assistant Librarian at Temple Library (Diboll), Supervisor of the Original Lufkin Day Care Center, Reading Teacher at Leggett ISD, active member of the Angelina County Voters League and was instrumental in the development of the first Life Skills Program at Lufkin ISD.

Ms. Cornish love of learning is reflected in her obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Minor in Sociology from Stephen F. Austin University, extended study at Prairie View A&M, studied at Texas Southern University in Business Administration and Physical Education, graduate of Dunbar Junior and Senior High School as well as intense studies of “How To Pray Productive Prayers” at The Prayer Institute in Houston Texas. She continues to expand and sharpen her computer skills at Computer Learning Center in Lufkin, Texas. as well continuing education and development with Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

A few recognitions and accomplishments are: chosen as one of 600 persons by TEA to serve on the TECAT Pilot Program for Teachers in Texas, selected and served on the Recruiting teams for Black Administrators (Lacy Chimney and Johnny Giles), member of the Dunbar Alumni Association (instrumental participant for getting the name of Dunbar restored), has received Letters of Recognition from Mayor Bob Brown, City of Lufkin, President Barack Obama and Texas Governor, Greg Abbott recognizing her for work and betterment of the community during her 80th birthday celebration.

Ms. Cornish continue be an active member and servant of several community organizations and at her church Windsor Village United Methodist Church. Ms. Cornish is very passionate about going forward with Buddy Temple's Vision " IMPACT LUFKIN”.



Mike Shurley

 I grew up in Diboll, Tx and graduated from Diboll High School in 1990.  I then went to Angelina College and graduated with an Associate of Applied Arts and Science Degree in Criminal Justice in 1992.  I then attended the East Texas Police Academy and earned my Basic Peace Officer Certificate in April of 1993.


I began my Law Enforcement career as a Reserve Police Officer with the Diboll Police Department in July of 1993, and worked as a Jailor with the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office from January 1994 until January 1995.  I began my career with the Lufkin Police Department in January 1995.  While with the Department, I have worked on Patrol, and spent 13 years in the Criminal Investigation Division both as a Detective and a Supervisor.  I promoted to Sergeant in 2009, and have been back on patrol since then.  I promoted to Lieutenant in August of 2014, and currently am the Watch Commander over A, E, and C shifts, Supervising 24 Officers. I have been married to my wife, Beverly, for 10 years, and we have four children between us.  We also have four grandchildren.  We are members of Harmony Hill Baptist Church. In my spare time, I like to hunt, fish, play golf, and pretty much anything else outdoors.





Jack Gorden

About: Jack Gorden was born and raised in Lufkin, TX and comes from six generations of Lufkin residents. Jack Gorden is married to Sue Roff Gorden and has a son, Trey Gorden who lives in Indiana. 


Education: Jack Gorden graduated from Lufkin High School and attended Stephen F. Austin State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Economics. Jack Gorden attended and graduated from the University of Colorado- Bank Marketing School. Jack Gorden then went on to graduate from the Southern Methodist University School of Banking.


Membership/Community Service: Jack Gorden has presided as the Chairman of the Deep East Texas Council of government (13 counties), the Chairman for United Way and the Chairman of the East Texas Bankers Institute of America. Jack Gorden has also presided on the Executive Committee of the Texas Municipal League and the Governors Committee for Interstate 69. Jack Gorden was a Trustee for the Memorial Hospital of East Texas and was on the board of Texas Bankers Association. Jack Gorden was a part of the founding group of the Crown Colony Country Club. Jack Gorden served as the Mayor of Lufkin, TX from 2006-2012 and served on the city council of Lufkin, Texas. 


Employment: Jack Gorden was the President and Founder of People’s National Bank of Lufkin and was also the President of First Bank & Trust East Texas. 


Present Trustee: Trustee of the Christ Church Lufkin, Texas Forest Country Board and Member of the Impact Lufkin Board. 


Special Interests: Jack Gorden’s interests are in working with Non-Profits and helping people and communities overcome poverty and socioeconomic barriers. 



Sydney Benemon

Sydney Benemon grew up in Lufkin, Texas, attended public school in Lufkin and graduated from Lufkin High School in 1971. After high school, Sydney graduated from  Angelina College with an Associate degree in social science in 1973. Sydney Benemon went on to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas and majored in Criminal justice. After graduation, Sydney Benemon started working at the Lufkin State School as a home manager in residential services in January 1975. Sydney worked for 42 years and retired in June of 2017. Sydney has been a faithful member, of over 25 years, to the New Zion Temple of Deliverance Church, under the service of Pastor Bishop Clifford Olford. Sydney Benemon has one daughter, Tamicka, who lives in Huntsville and one grandson, Ty.


Sydney Benemon serves as the President of the Lufkin Chapter of the NAACP and as the Vice President of the Angelina County Voters League. Sydney Benemon is a member of the Top Ladies of Distinction, a member of the Neighborhood watch, and a member of Lufkin Juneteenth committee.


Sydney Benemon’s favorite word to watch is “Service.” Sydney Benemon believes in helping the community and those who are in need and she wants to help the community of North Lufkin to be better and to be the best it can be. 



Freddie Avant

Freddie L. Avant, Ph.D., is a Professor and Associate Dean/Director of the School of Social Work at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.  He is also responsible for co-directing the Rural Social Work Research and Development Center.  He has been teaching and practicing social work for over thirty years. He is well known nationally for his consultative knowledge related to the accreditation of social work programs in higher education and the development of innovative health and well-being programs in the community. He has been involved in community-based youth and adult programs most of his professional career. He is a licensed master's level social worker with advanced practice recognition. His practice and research background are in the areas of children and family, mental health, cultural diversity, forensic social work, rural social work practice, medical social work and social work administration.

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Meet the Board of Directors