Westmont Magazine High Expectations
Dan Langston ’96 has clearly found his calling: He is passionate about teaching. After only seven years as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher (including four with students who speak English as a second language), he has been named the 2002 Teacher of the Year for the Tustin Unified School District. He is one of 13 candidates for Orange County Teacher of the Year.
Dan says hard work and “not knowing when or how to say ‘No,’” led to the awards. “I am part of just about everything that goes on in the schools where I work,” he notes. His many activities include teaching Saturday school and summer school, coaching volleyball and basketball, directing the California Reading Project, and installing computers around campus.
During his senior year in high school, Dan tutored fourth graders. He enjoyed the experience so much he began considering a career in education. While at Westmont, he served as student manager for the men’s basketball team for two years, and Coach John Moore and Assistant Coach Jeff Azain greatly influenced him.
“They showed me what it means to be committed and passionate and to love what you are doing,” Dan explains. “They had high expectations for the team and for themselves. Their example has carried over to my classroom; I expect nothing but the best from my students and from myself.”
The elementary teaching assistant principal at Benson Elementary School as well as a teacher, Dan is finishing his master’s degree and administrative credential at Azusa Pacific University. He hopes to become an assistant principal, principal or school administrator.
Whatever his role, Dan knows he will stay in education. He doesn’t need outside accolades to see the fruits of his labor. “I go to work each day knowing I’m making a difference in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders,” he says. That’s reward enough for him.