MAY— Vera Longoria, the second year elementary math teacher at May ISD, is a former Brownwood junior high school coach and teacher. She is the granddaughter of Dr. Bobbie Newman, former Howard Payne President, and daughter to college sweethearts Bobbie and Fred Strickland.

Longoria took a less conventional path in becoming a teacher than she did in finding her husband Robert Longoria, who was the quarterback when she attended Stamford High School. After falling in love in grade school, the Stamford High graduates headed to New York state as he served in the U.S. Army at Fort Drum. In those seven years, Longoria landed a job at the Nancy O Club event planning.

Upon visiting with family and friends and their children, Vera discovered the business wasn’t all she thought it was. So the Longorias packed up moved back home. In 1998, Vera earned her teaching degree at Angelo State University and starting teaching at age 31.

Longoria taught in Brownwood for 11 years, took some time off to help out with family business, then returned to teaching. Now she feels she has truly found her place in May, in the small but quaint town. She’s teaching three different grade levels for the first time —fourth, fifth and sixth grade — which she admits is a challenge, but she’s looking forward to having her fourth-graders for three years and watching them grow.

“It’s great being able to mold them and give them hope that they can go out and do something amazing with their lives,” Longoria said.

Longoria thinks there are many different avenues a child can take in finding a successful path while in school, whether that be academics, band, or athletics. She feels the students are being prepared to do exactly that. This generation is dealing with tons of technology that is a little challenging when it comes to communicating with one another, but Longoria thinks the technology-driven generation has its advantages and disadvantages.

“Their communication is louder with one another, but they understand each other,” she said. “It’s fun to let them teach and explain things to one another sometimes because they have that connection also.”

Longoria thinks she definitely teaches with a stronger approach in the classroom. She’s louder and likes to talk to the kids more, coming from the coaching world, but the kids have adjusted well.

She joked that one of her students told her, “Mrs. Longoria you were my worst teacher and now my best teacher.

“Thank God, I didn’t want to be on the worst list,” Longoria added.

Faced with all that is going on in this generation Longoria said the students are kids are great and just like the generations before them, they’re great problem solvers as a result of everything.

Over the year Longoria said she’s loved the journey to this point and has always had a great time teaching math and has loved it. Teaching came easy to her as she took on the task full fledge in the middle of her career. One of her biggest challenges is preparing three-grade levels as she is doing ,but feels the journey will be rewarding for her and the kids, working together for those years.