Faculty Spotlight: Tasha Austin
GSE alumna and published author Tasha Austin joined the GSE’s full-time faculty earlier this school year. Austin joined the GSE faculty as an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Learning and Teaching. She also currently serves as a Partnership Leader in Bound Brook, one of the GSE’s seven partner districts in the Community School Partnership Network (GSE-CSPN). Before that, Austin served the GSE as a part-time lecturer and attended the GSE for her master’s in Language Education.
There were many factors that ultimately led Austin to return to the GSE. Two of the major reasons were that she stayed in touch with the GSE through her strong relationship with Dr. Mary Curran, and that her beliefs and goals aligned with the GSE’s transition to focusing on equity and social justice in education. Austin said, “I never lost the connection with the GSE… Dr. Curran always gave me professional guidance and support. The connection I have with the GSE made it so much easier to transition into a full-time position here.”
Austin describes her current position as her dream job where her passion for teaching, mentoring, and working with her surrounding community intersects. In her work, Austin is very focused on advancing the GSE’s commitment to social justice. A major part of Austin’s interests as a faculty member and educator is to incorporate her openness to culture and language into her teaching and to pass that same openness on to her students. Austin had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain as an undergraduate and that experience was what really inspired her to explore culture and language in education. “When I lived abroad in Spain, being able to brush against so many different cultures, languages, and belief systems all the time and being able to grow from it was something I knew I wanted to share with my students one day” said Austin. Now in her work, she moves to utilize language and culture in education to highlight the countless assets that students bring to the table— “I often saw that there were wonderful resources that students brought to class but were completely overlooked because they were hard to quantify. I hope to be able to highlight the benefits of having that background in an educational space to my students.” Her work to bridge the gap between culture, language, and education is something she is proud to bring to the GSE in the hopes of helping propel the advancement of social justice in education further.
In the time that she does not spend teaching, working with the schools in her partner district, she enjoys dancing, being a class parent for her child, and enjoys consuming the fine arts! Austin expressed how happy she is to be able to return to the GSE and to help fulfill the GSE’s commitment to achieving social justice. The experience, knowledge, and passion that she brings to the GSE will only help its efforts to Advance Equity and Excellence in Education now and in the future.