May 23, 2024
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MISD school board, staff members and Muleshoe citizens break ground at the Dani Heathington Activity Center.

In a Gil Lamb video of the dedication ceremony for the multipurpose facility on MISD campus, the camera cuts from a facsimile of the building with the words Heathington Center on it to Dani Heathington. The retired assistant superintendent brings her hands to her mouth with a look of utter surprise.

“I knew nothing about it. It was very surprising; it still is surprising,” Heathington said. “It’s hard to soak it all in.”

The name on the outside of the new building will be HEATHINGTON CENTER. Inside on the architect’s plaque, the name will be The Dani Heathington Activity Center.

“The exciting golden shovel groundbreaking was amazing, and we were so honored to name the building after Mrs. Heathington,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. R.L. Richards. “The school board and I had been discussing ways to honor Mrs. Heathington’s work and dedication to the Muleshoe Independent School District. Mrs. Heathington’s story is quite unique, and she has accomplished many great relationships and programs during her faithful employment.”

According to Richards, Heathington started her career as a teacher’s assistant and finished her degree at Eastern New Mexico University.

She received her teaching certificate and became a special education teacher. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in administration.

Heathington moved from teacher to assistant principal, became principal at Watson Junior High moved on to Dillman Elementary. 

“With all of her work ethic, dedication and loyalty to Muleshoe ISD, she was appointed as the assistant superintendent of Muleshoe schools,” Richards said.

He praised the school board for its foresight and willingness to dedicate a building to Heathington.

“This school board, administrators, staff and students will always remember the tremendous efforts that Mrs. Heathington put into Muleshoe ISD,” he said.

The new building will be an indoor training facility with a 65-yard turf field under a roof with an indoor walking track around it. The band will be able to practice year-round in the facility, and multiple team sports will be able to use it simultaneously. The front of the facility will contain a conference room with a capacity of 120 to 125 people, equipped with computers, Wi-Fi and projectors.

“Well, I just felt very honored and humbled and – probably not worthy, but very appreciative,” Heathington said.

Heathington retired from MISD on June 30. She has three married children and eight grandchildren, including two 1-year-old girl cousins. Many of her family members were present at the ceremony.

Since her retirement, Heathington says she has been “allowing myself to have a summer,” traveling to Colorado and spending time with her grandchildren.

“I’d like to thank the whole community, especially Dr. Richards and the school board for the opportunities I’ve been allowed over the past 28 years,” she said. “It was a huge blessing to be a part of this district.”

Gail M. Williams

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent


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