PROFILE: Tonya Dunphy

Tonya Dunphy

Community and Parent Involvement Coordinator, Arkansas High, TASD

This is Tonya’s 20th year in education at Texarkana Arkansas School District. She is currently the Community and Parental Involvement/AP Coordinator at Arkansas High. Tonya sponsors three clubs at Arkansas High: the Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS), Youth 2 Leaders (Y2L) and the Interact Club which focuses on youth volunteerism in our community.  Tonya has also taken advantage of opportunities to work with community youth through her involvement with the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) training as well as co-facilitating Leadership Texarkana’s “Today’s Youth Tomorrow’s Leaders” training held every summer.  

Tonya believes it is very important for students from all schools to be given the opportunity to work together because they are the key to having a more united community in the future that’s willing to work together for a common goal.  She says: “My personal mission is to find ways to work with youth in our community, no matter what school they attend… My current position allows me to have an impact on students, teachers, parents, and community members. I remind myself daily that my actions will either have a positive or negative effect on someone else. In John Maxwell’s book, 360 Degree Leader, he discusses it doesn’t matter what position you hold in your organization everyone can have a positive influence. As a leader of young adults, I try to instill this ideal of leadership and empower students to want to get involved in their schools and community. I want them to believe their contributions can cause a magnitude of ripple effects.

“As the sponsor of the Interact Club at Arkansas High, I spend a lot of my time working with students in the community for various nonprofit agencies and other community events taking place. On average, we volunteer to help with at least three service projects a month. Depending on the community needs sometimes we volunteer two to three times a week. It is very rewarding observing students at the various events and watching them encompass the ideals of a servant’s heart and embrace helping others.”

Tonya works to share her belief with the young adults she comes in contact with, that we should all have a servant’s heart and we should not be able to live a life of contentment without service for others and pride in our community, captured in one of her favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?”

“In my opinion, leadership is about helping others become better in all areas of their daily lives. Leadership is more than just having power and being in charge of something or someone. My personal mission statement includes the ideal that leading others and making a difference starts with you believing in yourself and believing in those who surround you.

Through my participation in Leadership Texarkana I learned how multiple organizations and businesses are all pieces of the puzzle and why it’s so important for all of us to work together to have a successful and prosperous community. In my current position being a member of Leadership Texarkana provided me with knowledge to benefit my school, my students, and my personal growth.

Our youth are an important piece to breaking down current barriers that are hindering progress in the community.

One of the things I love about Texarkana is how supportive our community is of all our local nonprofit organizations. I feel a responsibility to ensure the young adults I work with are aware and take pride in all the amazing things our community does to help others.

Tonya is an active member of Oaklawn Rotary where she currently serves as the secretary. Tonya was presented with the Outstanding Community Service Award from Oaklawn Rotary and was the recipient of the 2017 Wilbur Award.

In her education career she has held many positions within TASD including 1st grade teacher, District Curriculum Coordinator (K-6), Assistant Principal, and Instructional Facilitator. Tonya obtained a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in 2003 and has completed coursework towards a Doctorate. Tonya has been married for 22 years to Matt Dunphy and has one daughter, Kaylee who is in her second year of college at Stephen F. Austin University majoring in Communication Disorders to become a Speech Pathologist.



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