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Conversations with a Principal: Alfonso Longoria
When Alfonso Longoria began his career in education 21 years ago, he never thought that he would end up in an administration position. But fast forward to today, and Longoria is beaming with joy as he talks about his current role as principal at East View High School following his four years as principal at Tippit Middle School. Over the years, Longoria has served in the classroom, on the field, in the front office – and has loved every minute of every role.
Can you talk about your time as an educator and what led you to this career path?
I've known since I was a kid that I wanted to be an educator. I come from a family of educators, coaches and school administrators. My mom was actually a principal, and my uncle was the head baseball coach at my high school. He was one of my first inspirations and the reason I originally entered education to be a coach.
So, I was coaching and teaching. Then one thing led to another, and the next thing I knew I was getting my Master of Education and Community Leadership, and then I blinked and I was an administrator. I never really got into education to be an administrator, but as I grew, I realized that it’s a different way to have an impact on kids. I really felt called to this role.
What has been your favorite thing about working in education?
I can honestly say that my times in the classroom are some of my best years. I think back to when my students would hang out in my classroom during lunch, and we would just chat about everything. Building those relationships with kids… it’s so important. Any opportunity to work with young people and pour into them and help them grow is what I love.
How has the transition been from Tippit to East View?
It’s been challenging but also a lot smoother than I anticipated. Because I moved within our district, I am already very familiar with our mission, vision and beliefs, and I know who my contacts are for principal support.
The hardest part has been learning the new campus and culture of East View and coming in and assessing where our needs are in order to best move forward.
Something that has been really cool is seeing students around campus that I know from Tippit. Our current senior class was my first eighth grade class at Tippit, so I already have relationships with a lot of these students.
What is something you have learned during your time as principal?
I think that one of the keys to being a successful principal is building relationships with every person that has some kind of invested interest in the school and empowering them to do their best work. Assistant principals, counselors, receptionists and all campus staff have a key role in inspiring students.
I often miss creating those deep connections with students in the classroom, but the tradeoff is that I can have just as big an impact as a principal if I am doing my job right and empowering the people that work directly with our kids.
How would you describe your time at East View so far?
One thing I have learned about East View is that there is a lot of pride here. People care very deeply about our school and its history and tradition. In the grand scheme of things we might be a young school, but people are invested in the foundation of East View and how this place was built.
For any principal, half that battle is getting people invested in your school. I came into a place where people already want to be successful and take this place to the next level for our students.
It’s really freeing to work in a place where your motivation in life aligns with the work of the organization. I’m so proud to be here.