ēCO Credit Union has a strong commitment to the communities where our members live, work, and play. We are excited to continue the #eCOmmunity program in 2021. We are proud to recognize those who go above and beyond for their community through the #eCOmmunity initiative.
Each month, members of the community who embody the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People” are nominated by ēCO employees to be “Credit Unioned.”
Mia Robinson, Homewood Branch Manager, nominated Dr. Walter Gonsoulin to be “Credit Unioned” because of his hard work and dedication to the Jefferson County School system. She said, “Dr. G embraces our philosophy of ‘People Helping People’ by putting the needs of the faculty, staff, and students in Jefferson County Schools above all else during some very trying times. He is a remarkable leader and a valuable influence to have in our community”.
Dr. Walter Gonsoulin is married and has two kids and two dogs. After growing up in New Iberia, Louisiana, Dr. Gonsoulin attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees for interpersonal counseling and communication and elementary education. He earned his Master’s in education from Southern University and his Ph. D. in curriculum and instruction from Mississippi State.
Dr. Gonsoulin serves as the superintendent of Jefferson County Schools, the second-largest school district in the state of Alabama. He was elected Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools in 2019, after serving as the Deputy Superintendent for Jefferson County Schools for 5 years. Dr. Gonsoulin has worked in education for 27 years, serving in various educational roles including elementary school teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent for the Starkville, Mississippi, school system, superintendent of the Fairfield City School System, and an assistant professor at a college in Louisiana. He also currently serves as the President of District 5 for the Distinct Superintendents of Alabama.
Barbara Littles, the Executive Secretary for Jefferson County Schools, said, “Dr. Gonsoulin’s leadership is what makes him the perfect person to lead Jefferson County Schools at this time. They say lead through example; the example Dr. Gonsoulin sets is one of servant leadership. We have seen that on full display through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people don’t know, but he was working in education in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. He has been able to draw on that experience to help lead our district when there really was no road map. Education is his business, but people are his passion.”
Mia Robinson, Homewood Branch Manager, says that Dr. Gonsoulin’s character has been evident from the moment it was announced that he would serve as the interim superintendent. “Local news stations and reporters were at the Jefferson County Board of Education to interview Dr. G about his new role,” said Robinson. “There were also children from the school district visiting the board that day. Dr. G made a point to go and speak to each child and spend a few minutes talking, laughing, and making jokes with the kids. News crews and reporters were waiting on him, but he put the kids first. To me, that was a true representation of his character and heart for the students.”
Robinson says the character she witnessed from Dr. Gonsoulin that day has been continuously demonstrated, even more so after he was named superintendent. “Dr. G has had to face several obstacles since becoming the superintendent of Jefferson County Schools,” said Robinson. “He has had to make very tough decisions regarding the health and safety of the students, faculty, and staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I watched from behind the scenes and saw how he stressed over finding the best practices to keep our children engaged in learning, as well as providing proper nutrition for the students that rely on the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program at their schools. Along with the impact of the pandemic, Jefferson County was hit with a devastating tornado that destroyed a community, a school, and took the life of a high school student. Dr. G responded by putting the needs of the people and the community above all else during that horrible time. He has faced so much adversity but continues to respond with so much kindness and grace. We could all learn a lesson in handling ourselves during moments of crisis and how we treat our neighbors.”
“I am so proud to be an educator and to be able to wake up and come to a job that I really enjoy,” said Dr. Gonsoulin. “It is a thrill to come and serve with the faculty and staff, but also to serve the families. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult, but it has also been rewarding. We have had a whole lot of things we have had to accomplish, but we have met the challenge head-on. I am from Louisiana, and I thought working in education through the (Hurricane) Katrina era would be my most difficult time in education, but this year has proven to stretch me administratively and professionally. I have enjoyed working alongside the faculty and staff to overcome it.”
ēCO Credit Union employees surprised Dr. Walter Gonsoulin with a coffee mug, Starbucks gift card, and his favorite peppermints on Tuesday, May 25th at the Jefferson County Board of Education in Birmingham, Alabama.
“This means a lot to me,” said Dr. Gonsoulin. “I have many personal and professional goals, and one of those is creating an environment where people say ‘I get to go to work’, rather than ‘I have to go to work.’ I want people to enjoy coming to work and see it as a privilege, not an expectation. Being nominated and receiving this tells me I am on the right track towards achieving that goal. Dedication and commitment are infectious, and I want to continue to show love to this family and watch it continue to grow.”
ēCO Credit Union is grateful for Dr. Gonsoulin’s leadership, influence, and commitment to the community and the Jefferson County Schools.
“Dr. G is such an inspiration to me,” said Mia Robinson. “I nominated him because he is hardworking, intentional, kind, and thoughtful. His influence is one that I hope to continuously learn from, to be a better person. He embodies the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People’ with his physical actions and his influence.”
“Thank you so much to ēCO Credit Union. I am thankful for the relationship that we have with you, along with all of our stakeholders,” said Dr. Gonsoulin. “It truly takes a village to do what we are trying to do. Working with our different partners and stakeholders to ensure we meet the needs of our faculty and staff, along with our community, to me, is the ultimate service. I enjoy working with you all.”
Thank you, Dr. Gonsoulin, for the influence, leadership, and positivity that you spread within the community