While most every industry in the country has been hard hit by the pandemic lockdown, few vocations have been instantly altered quite like our teachers in our public schools. They all left for Spring Break, set to resume their coursework upon their return, but instead were instantly catapulted into a tumultuous situation of distance learning, Zoom classrooms, and a myriad of other challenges.
Zach Beshea, Assistant Principal at Boerne Middle School North, has been working tirelessly with his staff and team to handle the crisis as professionally as possible despite the challenges. Beshea, a Boerne native, has always wanted to work in education, and his passion for his work is evident.
Beshea begins, “I’m originally from Boerne, actually. Class of 2007. l always wanted to get into education, though not necessarily administration. But I always wanted to be in teaching. I have a great love for Mathematics, and so that was my plan from very early on.”
Beshea’s interest in teaching was born early, and was cultivated by his exposure to his mother’s job at Boerne High School. He continues, “My mom was the secretary to the academic dean and bookkeeper at BHS – she got the job there when I got to high school just so she could be close to me or keep an eye on me. She always brought home work and I enjoyed going through it with her. I had some bad teachers like everyone growing up, and I always wanted to be a teacher so that I could offset some of that and inspire a kid who might have had some crummy teachers in the past.” Originally expressing an interest in engineering due to his love of math, Beshea quickly switched his focus upon entering Texas Lutheran University and focused on his degrees in Math and Education which would prepare him for his career.
“I had no plans to come back to Boerne. Like all kids, I wanted to strike out into the world and experience other places. The last place I ever thought I’d be a math teacher was Boerne. I had gone to TLU, and I loved it. I did all the fun stuff with the fraternities and student government, and then I did my student teaching my senior year at Seguin High School. They offered me a job and I just said “I’ll just stay here and teach here forever.””
However, his plans changed in 2012 when his mother passed away rather suddenly. He continues, “After my mom passed, I stayed in Seguin another year, but I felt some responsibility to my dad and he encouraged me to come back and live closer and to help him. One of the counselors that was at North told my dad about a math opening at North and that I should give it a shot. It was for algebra, which wold be for more advanced kids…and I got the job. I figured I had moved on from Boerne, but I went for it. The schools are bursting and the growth is so intense, and it’s been a challenge but I’ve truly enjoyed being here.”
While Beshea was loving his new responsibilities at BMSN, new opportunities continued to spring up for him. He explains, “Beto Hinojosa was the Assistant Principal at North, and he kept encouraging me to look into the administrative level of education. He knew that I loved the relationship portion of teaching, and so I jumped into grad school and got the degrees. I finished in a year and a half so it would have been 2015. I graduated UT-Arlington and Kendall Elementary had an Assistant Principal opening and I applied and got the job. In the middle of the year I moved from an algebra teacher to an Elementary Vice Principal – so it was tough. I had now taught High School in Seguin, Middle School in Boerne, and now elementary.”
Beshea quickly fell in love with his new vantage point in administration. He explains, “Kendall Elementary was so fun. The kids just love you so much – it was all high fives and hugs all day long. One of my favorite parts of the day was going into all the classrooms, and I’d get to sit in on the classes and just be a big kid. Sure, they’re learning, but it’s just so much fun and light and innocent. I loved every minute of it. You can have a kid for 7 years in elementary school – they come in for their first day of schooling at all, and you can introduce an entire family to what education really is.”
3 years later, Beshea moved to the Assistant Principal position at BMSN. For him, it’s more than a little familiar as he was once a student there. Beshea says, “I was a student at North, I was a teacher there, and now I’m in administration…it’s practically home to me. The other assistant principal, Daniel Owen, goes way back with me and we knew we would work so well together. With Tommy Hungate as our Principal, it is the best team ever.”
With the lockdown in place, Beshea and his team are working feverishly to plan for all known variables that might impact them in the short and long term. He continues, “We’re adjusting the schedule for next year as every year you build a master schedule that works good for the courses. We’re offering more electives year over year, and we’re trying to get the teachers to conference together to work together with their own curriculum. We’re adjusting the lunches and the schedules and maximizing the time for the kids. We also are asking ourselves where do our teachers excel? Which teachers are better with which subjects? What teachers work better with particular types of students? We’re trying to figure out all of those riddles to make it best for the kids and the teachers – so we’re putting in the work now to be prepared for next year.”
For Beshea, who has quickly moved up the ranks in education, has no intention of slowing down neither his goals nor his motivations. He finishes, “Principal for sure is a goal. My boss now has empowered me a lot to learn now, and encouraged me to learn from him as much as I can and I’ve loved that. I’ll be looking for a principal job after the end of next year, but no matter what or where, I’m excited to get the opportunities I think I can find. I’d love to move up and work with the State – we need so many more teachers – and I’d love to find them. Finding teachers that are in it for the right reasons, and I just love and appreciate those people so much and I want to find more of them. We as teachers are not here to tell your kids how to live their lives, we’re here to help them make good decisions and to learn everything they can. I’d love to be the Secretary of Education at some point – it’s possible, I believe. I really think it would be very special for me and I think I could really do a lot of good.”