Easton Teachers Have Class!
As we hit the end of May in a very untraditional school year, it feels especially important to honor a few of our local Easton Park educators. Thanks to Tania, Adriana, and all of the others who have worked so hard to keep all of their students interested and engaged during the past year! We are so very grateful for you.
Adriana Longoria, Skyline Park Resident since 2019
Adriana Longoria comes from a long line of teachers. As a girl, the Laredo native played school with her friends and often was the teacher—or the principal. After college at Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Adriana got her master’s degree in education administration, but she never intended to leave the classroom.
Adriana taught 6th grade reading and English, and coached basketball, volleyball track, first in San Antonio and later in Corpus Christi. It was there that her principal urged her to move into campus administration. Adriana was reluctant to make the jump but after she managed the campus for a day while her principal was at a conference, she was hooked. “Once I got my feet wet, I loved it,” Adriana says. “I wanted to do it again.”
Adriana soon moved to Austin and Austin High School to be an Assistant Principal in the Academy for Global Studies. The academy is one of four at Austin High School that breaks the campus into smaller learning communities based around a shared interest, in this case, global issues. “We do lots of interdisciplinary projects and project-based learning, all connected to the curriculum,” Adriana says. “Students can participate in electives and be part of the greater school, Austin High, but through their core classes, they also feel like they’re part of their academy family.”
One of the best parts of the Global Studies curriculum is the travel. While Adriana’s daily AP work involves meetings with students, parents, teachers, and staff, her favorite part of her job is getting to take students on educational adventures all over the world. “I love traveling with students and getting to see them outside the classroom,” Adriana says. “Some of our students haven’t left Austin before. Many of them haven’t been on a plane, or been to another country or state. Getting to see how these experiences impact them is so rewarding.”
All of the travel changed, however, last year when quarantine started. Adriana was already moved into her David Weekley home in Skyline Park with her two dogs, Ramsey and Rangler. Once the school year ended, she visited the Easton Park pool as often as possible. “That’s what got us through quarantine,” Adriana says. “Last summer, nobody could bring guests to the pool, and everyone was working from home, so we had no one to talk to but our neighbors. We all got really close!”
Some of Adriana’s neighbors hosted impromptu yard concerts, and now that things are starting to open up, they all go to the Music in the Park events together at The Union. “I hit the jackpot, the lottery,” Adriana says. “It’s like no other community I’ve ever lived in!”
Tania Tasneem, Knob Hill Resident since 2018
You might remember seeing Tania Tasneem on Easton Park social media earlier this year when she won Teacher of the Year at Kealing Middle School, where she teaches 8th grade science and coaches volleyball and track.
It’s Tania’s 14th year at Kealing, and she did her student teaching in the same classroom where she now teaches. “Eighth grade is earth science,” Tania says. “So we start with weather, which is cool because it’s during hurricane season. We go to climate, sun/earth/moon/lunar phases, chemistry, astronomy, and then geology. There are a lot of exciting things that come up in projects, like environmental justice issues, so it’s not just science but teaching them to be active citizens and getting them college and career ready. We’re always trying to take that next step in their learning.”
While the past year has required lots of adjustments and teaching over Zoom, Tania has gotten more involved in district issues, serving on campus committees and a Superintendent’s Roundtable group. “Before, I just knew what happened on our campus,” Tania says. “It’s been cathartic to work with teachers across the district and learn how they’re handling things.”
In spite of all of the obstacles this year, Tania’s favorite part of teaching is still the kids. “I cannot imagine going through this school year without students who are so compassionate and kind and understanding,” Tania says. “They know everything is not perfect, and we’re growing together! They are the best! They’re the reason I keep going.”
In her downtime, Tania enjoys walking her dogs, Austin, a pitbull/boxer mix, and Heidi, an Australian Shepard mix, and working out. Working out was actually how Tania found Easton Park—she and her husband, Phillip, lived down the road in Colorado Crossing, and Tania would come to Camp Gladiator workouts here at Easton. One of her trainer friends bought a house in Bryant Park, and when Tania and Phillip were ready for more space, they chose to build with Pacesetter in Knob Hill. “I didn’t want to live anywhere else,” Tania says. “I liked the area and Southeast Austin. And I’m super grateful we jumped on the lot when we did. We love our home. This is ours together, and for both of us it’s the nicest home we have lived in.”