A New Transition: From San Antonio to Austin

by María Treviño

I can’t believe that 30 years have flown by so fast. I almost didn’t have a career in teaching as I was 20 years old when I graduated from college. Personnel directors were leery of a 20-year-old trying to control 30 students in a classroom, but Mr. Ernest Denham took a chance on a young woman named María. I started my teaching career at McCollum High School in Harlandale ISD in San Antonio in 1972. I was fresh out of college and ready to teach Spanish to kids eager to learn. My teaching experience at McCollum under the leadership of Mr. Patrick Shannon and Mr. Daryl Flynt gave me the impetus to move forward. I had 12 great years with students at McCollum, but the time came for me to move closer to my home.

Mr. Carlos Ortiz offered me the opportunity to teach Spanish in Northside ISD. I taught at Holmes High School for one year and then the position of Foreign Language Supervisor opened up. The position called for starting the Spanish program at Health Careers High School, the new magnet school for the district, in addition to being part-time supervisor. I had only been in the district one year, but the job sounded interesting. I took a chance and applied. I owe this opportunity to Mr. Paul Fleming.

As Instructional Specialist for Northside ISD for 17 years I had a great deal to learn and much to give back to the teachers and students in the field of foreign languages. I had worked with great teachers, many of whom helped develop curriculum, wrote Credit by Exams, provided staff development, developed activities and scenarios for the 5 Cs, and worked on numerous committees to meet the needs of the International Languages department. Two bond issues provided funding for multimedia digital language labs in all of Northside’s high schools that will be installed by 2003-2004. All of this was accomplished because of teamwork between the instructional specialist, department coordinators, and teachers willing to work towards a common goal—success for all students.

I retired from Northside on May 31 and assumed the position of Assistant Director for LOTE at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on July 1. I look forward to continued teamwork with Carl Johnson, the LOTE Center for Educator Development, the Texas Association for Language Supervision (TALS), the Texas Foreign Language Association (TFLA), and local independent school districts to continue to move language teaching and learning forward in the 21st century. There has been a history of excellence in the leadership at TEA with Bobby LaBouve, Inés García, and Carl Johnson. I just hope that I can partially fill those shoes, which have left great imprints in the development of LOTE in this state.

The LOTE Center has done a magnificent job in all of the training and materials that it has provided language teachers. I will continue to work with the Center in any capacity necessary so that it can continue to assist LOTE teachers. The connections between TALS, TFLA, and TEA have been strong over the years. You can rest assured that we will continue to work together to make sure that as a team we will meet the needs of teachers and students in Texas. Textbook adoptions are coming up soon, so this is one area where there will be much collaboration.

Please call me if you have any questions, or if you have any ideas related to language learning to share that you feel are important. It is an honor to be at TEA to serve Texas teachers and students.