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Alum Honored for Taking Education Outdoors

June 17, 2016

When Trevor Hance of Austin decided to uproot his life as an attorney to become an elementary schoolteacher, he turned to Angelo State for the tools he needed to make the transition.

Those tools proved effective as the fifth-grade teacher and outdoor learning specialist at Laurel Mountain Elementary in Round Rock has received a 2016 Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He was honored for creating and directing an outdoor student program called The Legacy Project.

“It’s humbling to be provided with this platform,” Hance said, “but it’s also affirming that this work makes a difference and that we’re on the right path.”

Accompanied by Principal Jan Richards and three TCEQ commissioners, Laurel Mountain Elementary School teacher Trevor Hance, an ASU alum, accepts the 2016 Texas Environmental Excellence Award in the individual category.Accompanied by Principal Jan Richards and three TCEQ commissioners, Laurel Mountain Elementary School teacher Trevor Hance, an ASU alum, accepts the 2016 Texas Environmental Excellence Award in the individual category.

“The school is geographically in an amazing space, next to the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve in Austin,” he added. “A teacher who had been here for a number of years had done some work in the buffer space between the school and the preserve.”

The Legacy Project allows Laurel Mountain’s 150 fifth-graders to expand on the work of previous students. They select a project that interests them, which helps create a sense of ownership and a desire to learn. Hance then uses their projects to help them develop math, science and social studies skills.

“I grew up outdoors in Louisiana and Texas and I wanted to give that experience back to the students, to give them a sense of the connection between that wild space and the classroom.”

Trevor Hance, ASU alum and teacher at Laurel Mountain Elementary in Round Rock

A recent project called The Bike Shop had the students refurbishing and donating bicycles. Along the way, they calculated the emission savings from riding a bicycle over riding in a car. Other projects have included a rainwater-harvesting collection system and wildlife research.

“I grew up outdoors in Louisiana and Texas,” Hance said, “and I wanted to give that experience back to the students, to give them a sense of the connection between that wild space and the classroom.”

For Laurel Mountain Principal Jan Richards, the Texas Environmental Excellence Award is a well-deserved recognition of Hance’s work.

“Through their outdoor learning experiences, students develop an understanding and attachment to the space in which they live,” she said. “You see their eyes light up and the smiles on their faces—and those tell you powerful and meaningful learning is happening.”

Programs such as birding and wildlife research launched at Laurel Mountain Elementary led to Hance earning a statewide award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.Programs such as birding and wildlife research launched at Laurel Mountain Elementary led to Hance earning a statewide award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.Hance, who had earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and a juris doctorate from South Texas College of Law, decided to pursue his youthful ambition to teach children after marrying his wife, Diane, a librarian.

“My work as an attorney was busy and required a lot of travel,” he said, “so to get on a family schedule, my wife encouraged me to follow this dream.”

To get the training and credentials he needed, he chose ASU’s online Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction program.

“The online platform allowed me to maintain my family life and to do substitute teaching and probationary teaching in the district where I wanted to work,” Hance said. “I consider ASU a big part of my journey, and I’m very grateful for the good work that the university does and the foundation and opportunities it has provided me.”

He started working at Round Rock ISD’s Laurel Mountain Elementary in 2011 and earned his ASU master’s degree in 2012. He is currently completing a principal’s certification at ASU but is still enjoying being a teacher.

“I don’t really have a desire to leave the classroom at this moment,” he said. “When this opportunity opened up, it was really the right fit for me.”

  • Laurel Scott

    Laurel Scott

    Laurel Scott is a news and information specialist at Angelo State University. 
    E-mail Laurel at laurel.scott@angelo.edu.

A Q&A with Trevor Hance

Why did you choose to attend ASU?
The affiliation with Texas Tech was a draw, and the program was sufficiently flexible to allow me to achieve my professional objectives without compromising my familial ones.

What (academic and/or career) opportunities did ASU provide for you?
The degree helped me transition from full-time attorney and realize my dream to teach.

How did ASU prepare you for your current position?
The coursework, advising from Drs. Kim Livengood and James Summerlin, and freedom to substitute throughout the district gave me a chance to find a right fit for my teaching interests.

Name a professor who made a difference in your education. How did he/she help you?
Both Drs. Summerlin and Livengood were relevant and supportive.

What was one of your most memorable experiences as a student?
We had a couple of weeks on campus one summer and leading up to our portfolio presentations, and meeting the other candidates was very meaningful.

What was your favorite thing about being an ASU student?
I did feel supportive, and I feel the program was practical.

What would you say to prospective students who are considering attending ASU?
Do it!

Contact Info

Curriculum and Instruction Department
325-942-2647
ci@angelo.edu