If you live in Regions 16-19, you might have noticed a new face around your campus and in your region meetings. That’s Jeff Vega, ATPE’s new membership specialist for Regions 16-19! Jeff, a former educator, joined us last summer. ATPE talked to Jeff about his favorite moments as an educator and why he’s excited to work for our members.
Can you share some details about what you did before you came to ATPE?
Before I came to ATPE, I was an educator and coach. I lived in Wyoming and loved fishing, biking, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado, and in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
What made you want to work for ATPE?
Moving away from a teaching/coaching role was a tough decision. My best friend kicked me in the pants and encouraged me to move into a role that would still positively affect education and, ultimately, the students. Becoming a regional representative at ATPE solidified my initial beliefs of why I wanted to work there in the first place. It is truly the best organization, and it allows me to continue to make a difference for educators and students, too.
What is your favorite part of working with Texas educators?
I truly love their dedication to the students and how welcoming they have been toward me.
What is the most important thing Texas educators can do for their profession?
Continue to inspire students to be the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be while also advocating for their profession. Educators must follow their own advice about being proactive and then role model that behavior through voting and participating in the system.
What’s your favorite thing about your part of the state?
The wonderful current and former educators that I meet.
Can you share something fun about yourself that our members might not know?
I won a state championship as a soccer player and coached in a state championship game for the high school I attended, in Campbell County, Wyoming.
What was your favorite moment as an educator?
I truly cannot pinpoint a favorite moment because they are all so special. However, there are some that really stand out in my mind. The four years of being the head boys’ soccer coach at a brand-new high school was a highlight. The building was not even completed yet when we started our journey. It was a wild ride and a memory that I will cherish forever.
I will also always remember helping my father coach his final football season. I was by his side (broken ankle and all) as his team won another championship, capping off his 41st season. I got to watch my father be inducted into the coaching hall of fame twice, alongside all my mentors.
I can also remember a former athlete of mine thanking me for moving him into a different position, after he complained, because it eventually landed him in the NFL. Now he designs Madden video games. Another former athlete thanked me for always pushing academics. He played soccer in college and eventually became a surgeon. I also remember many times sitting near my new students in schools where they had no real ESL support, translating with them and filling in the gaps. I loved seeing them years later and hearing their successes in life (in English). They introduced me to their families with such honor and respect.
Photo: ATPE Regional Membership Specialist Jeff Vega poses with ATPE member Eduardo Silva, a student teacher from the University of Texas at El Paso.
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