AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Lawana Pulliam has poured her heart and soul into education and it shows. That is one of the reasons she was a Remarkable Woman Nominee.

Pulliam has been a teacher and principal here in Amarillo and is now the Director of Curriculum and Instructional Technology in Canadian.

Jacqui Haygood is a friend and fellow educator at Canadian ISD. Haygood nominated Pulliam for the honor for multiple reasons.

“She’s always reinventing and finding new ways to be innovative and to help,” said Haygood.

What really impressed Haygood was Pulliam’s ability to pivot during the pandemic and focus on virtual learning.

“Our district was able to move to the new instructional arena relatively smoothly because of her tireless dedication,” said Haygood.

Chellie Cox worked with Pulliam when she was the principal at Forest Hill Elementary in Amarillo. She said Lawana left her mark on everyone.

“You want to be a better person when you’re with her,” said Cox. “Not just for her but for yourself.”

Inside and outside of the classroom, Lawana Pulliam is a servant.

“I am serving the people of my community,” said Pulliam. “I’m serving the people in my school, and I’m serving my family.”

When Pulliam is not at the school you can find her working for the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation, Snak Pak for Kids, and the Canadian Prom Closet.

“You don’t know how much she’s really working behind the scenes,” said Jacqui Haygood. “She works tirelessly. We have no idea the hours that she puts in for everybody else and it is about everyone else.”

Lawana Pulliam is a survivor

“I was 43 and had gone in for my routine mammogram,” says Pulliam. “There’s nothing that can quite prepare you for the moment when somebody says, you have cancer. Immediately, in my mind, I thought about, I’m not going to see my kids graduate or get married.”

Pulliam said she played through all of the scenarios and after three hours, she made up her mind.

“I decided, I’m gonna fight,” said Pulliam. “I have a lot left that I want to get done for the students, the people I serve, and for my family.

Lawana Pulliam fought.

“She kept having infections and she would not let it get her down,” said Chellie Cox.

“I was so worried for her but she wasn’t,” said Jacqui Haygood. “I mean, she has such a tremendous faith. She just keeps going.”

Those are just a few of the reasons why Lawana Pulliam is remarkable.

“I’m just honored that someone would say things that would lead anyone to believe I’m remarkable,” says Pulliam. It makes me feel really good and most importantly, it makes me feel like what my life is about is serving others.”

“Lawana Pulliam, originally from Miami, serves as Canadian ISD’s Director of Curriculum and Instructional Technology. She has worked in our school system for years, but her prior positions were principal of South Georgia Elementary and Forest Hill Elementary in Amarillo.

Our school district greatly benefitted when she, her husband, superintendent Dr. Lynn Pulliam, and children moved back to our community. With her upbeat, positive personality, she challenged teachers of every level to create collaborative learning opportunities that helped students think critically. She is the ultimate leader because she never asks more of teachers than she is willing to do herself. For example, elementary teachers statewide are required to complete an intensive and exhaustive Reading Academy. Technically, Lawana is not required to complete this training, but she did so she can help her struggling colleagues. Additionally, she is an inaugural member of the Canadian Education Foundation, which raises funds for innovative teaching grants.

However, what impressed me the most were her actions during the Pandemic and consequential transition to virtual learning. In Spring 2020, when every district in the state was scrambling, our district was able to move to the new instructional arena relatively smoothly because of her tireless dedication. Did I mention that she was putting in 80+ hours/week during this time AND going through chemo for breast cancer? Because she was so determined to make this transition as easy as possible for everyone else, her health suffered tremendously. Complications arose with her health protocol, and she was hospitalized more than once during this time. I do not have the specifics because she kept her struggles private. But when your administrator shows up wearing an infusion pump, things are serious. She was an inspiration for all of us because she did not give up and refused to give in to self-pity.

Not only is Lawana a force for the school district, but she also works tirelessly for the community as a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Some of the recent events that she has headed up include the planning for Christmas in Canadian, and more specifically the Santa Claus Shuffle 5K run/walk which benefits local scholarships. Another program that garners her attention is Snack Pack for Kids. She is constantly raising funds or simply packing meals. Last week you would have found her working with the Canadian Prom Closet. She and a few other ladies in the community have banned together to gather gently used formals, shoes, jewelry, etc., so financially challenged students can have a positive prom experience without the stress of trying to find affordable attire.

These are just a few instances where Lawana Pulliam shines and I hope you see what she means to our community. The biggest attribute Lawana possess is humility. She has no idea that she is being nominated for Woman of the Year and if she did, she would insist that what she does is “no big deal.” However, she is a force for good and a role model for positivity.”

Jacqui Haygood