After 21 years of teaching in the Eanes ISD, Mentorship teacher Vicky Abney has decided to retire from Westlake High School.
“I feel like I’m still young enough to enjoy an active role in life,” Abney said. I am looking forward to having lots of free time. Although I’m not planning to teach after I leave, I’m not planning on going to the nursing home either. I will spend more time with my family and church services. I will really miss working with kids, but I’m also looking forward to being free from the bell schedule.”
Since she started teaching, Abney estimates that she has taught 5,000-6,000 students (34 to 47 students per class). She loves teaching and helping kids, which is why she said leaving her job will be hard.
“The entire time I’ve been here, young adults approach me out in the community and tell me how beneficial the course was and how they type faster than anyone they know, and I’ve gotten positive feedback,” Abney said. Thirty and 35 year olds still remind me of instances when I taught them back in sixth grade. Regarding now, students have been really complimentary about feeling that they are ready for the next step in career interests and colleges that they may choose. The students have been very expressive in how I have helped them become ready for the real world.”
After graduating from Baylor, Abney worked at Sun Oil Company and lived in Dallas for nine years with her husband and two daughters before moving to Austin in 1993 at the age of 39. Coming to Austin she didn’t know anyone and she was unemployed. That was when she saw a notice for an open position at Hill Country Middle School for the keyboarding teacher. Since she had a business major and she was certified to teach classes, she contacted the school board and decided to take the job.
“I have always been around teachers,” Abney said. “My mother, my sister and my aunt were teachers. I have heard many conversations at the dinner table and my whole entire life about education. I love kids and I love influencing kids, helping them to figure out the next step in life.”
After working 11 years as the keyboarding teacher at Hill Country, Abney was asked to become the new Mentorship teacher at Westlake after the previous teacher went on maternity leave and never returned.
“Linda Rawlings, our former principal, brought the Mentorship program here to Westlake,” Abney said. “I was asked to take the job, and I had been a recruiter at Sun Oil Company, which means you look for, hire or prospect new employees. I was always looking for people who were top notch in their field and presenting them to management to put them in their departments. That sort of recruiting personnel experience really helped me understand the business side of [Mentorship]. I’m very career oriented; it was a very good fit for me.”
After Abney leaves she plans for the Mentorship program to continue on under the direction of a new teacher. Although she doesn’t know how the Mentorship program will change after she leaves, she stated that she will help the new instructor however she can and hopes that the new instructor will leave their own personal mark on the program.
“The new teacher will lead the program onto its next destination and once I give my ideas it will be out of my hands,” Abney said. “I hope the program will continue to thrive in the hands of the new instructor and they will have my advice and experience, if they need help.”