A Big Lake native, Casarez earned her bachelor’s degree in magazine design from the University of Texas and then went to work at Dell in Austin. But after a while, that job had lost its appeal.
“I wasn’t helping people, and it wasn’t a fulfilling job,” she said. “I felt like education was something I would be interested in doing, so I went back to school and got the degree and certification to be a teacher. I taught in Austin for a while before we moved to West Texas.”
I felt like education was something I would be interested in doing…
And West Texas is where her career has flourished. While teaching and working at public schools in Big Lake and San Angelo, Casarez earned a counseling master’s degree and several certifications. She joined the ASU staff in 2010 as a graduate advisor in the College of Education and then earned her Ph.D. from Texas Tech University and joined the ASU faculty in 2013.
Now an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, Casarez leads ASU’s nationally recognized online guidance and counseling graduate program that boasts an enrollment of over 600 students. She is also president of the Texas School Counselor Association, which named her Counseling Educator of the Year in 2015, and has been recognized as one of San Angelo’s “Top 20 Under 40” citizens.
“My husband, James, drives to work in Midland every day because I don’t want to go anywhere,” Casarez said. “He makes that sacrifice so I can stay here at ASU and continue doing the job I really enjoy.”
For her outstanding teaching efforts and dedication to ASU, Casarez has earned the Alumni Association’s 2018 Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award. She vividly remembers getting the notification call.
“I was so excited,” Casarez said, “but I couldn’t yell because I was at the grocery store. It’s an even greater honor to me because I’m not an alumnus, but I’ve still been recognized by the Alumni Association. My kids, Payton and Joshua, were also excited because we get to be in the Homecoming Parade!”