MESQUITE, Texas — The most important person at the Mesquite ISD superintendent’s office isn’t the superintendent.
“The hard work that’s being done is done by the supporting cast and that’s most definitely Linda Samples,” said superintendent Angel Rivera.
Samples is the administrative assistant to the superintendent.
She started working for the district in the 1980s simply because her kids were in school and she wanted something to do. Forty-two years later, she’s still there.
“You’re like the mother to the teachers and children,” Samples said. “I love it.”
She’s served five superintendents, multiple school boards and been the unsung hero behind many of Mesquite ISD’s biggest moments.
“I think everybody in this organization is well aware of Mrs. Samples influence and impact, no matter where you’re at,” Rivera said.
Over the years, a lot of people have said thank you, but no one has said it quite as emphatically as the school board did at a recent meeting.
“I was just blown away,” Samples said. “Oh my gosh, this cannot be happening to me.”
Samples was invited to the meeting to discuss a new technology center the district was renovating. It didn’t have a name yet. At least, that’s what the board told her.
The Linda Samples Technology Center, the first building in the district ever named for an administrative assistant, is scheduled to open later in August.
“Sometimes when you name a building you make one person happy and you make 150 upset,” said Gary Bingham, board member and chairman of the naming committee. “I don’t think we heard a single negative comment.”
Indeed, all that was said at the meeting was praise.
“When you are associated with Linda, you become her friend,” said one board member.
“If you try not to love her, she will change your heart and your attitude,” another board member said.
“You’ve been there for all of us and we very much appreciate what you do and love you,” said another board member.
In fact, there was only person who thought the honor should’ve gone to someone else. Samples says other paraprofessionals in the district deserve just as much recognition.
“It’s really a huge honor for them to have something named after an administrative assistant, or executive assistant,” Samples said.
In most districts, buildings are named for administrators and dignitaries but in Mesquite they believe a life of service done with unconditional love is worth remembering, too.