The fashion guru took a unique route to the classroom

Tower News

Ten years ago, Angie Anaya would never have guessed that fashion would lead her into education. Still, the former Delta College instructor and current Manteca High fashion guru can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Anaya teaches CTE Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising, where students learn about the design process, among other things.

“When we understand the design process, there are many factors that try to come up with not only a beautiful design but a functional design, and then the last one I think is the most important is a sustainable design, so we do a lot of that”, said Anaya in an interview with Tower News.

To be sure, Anaya’s career path was not designed this way. She started in the business world in fashion, working in sales, purchasing for small businesses, attending trade shows and doing window displays. She received a fashion degree from Delta College.

“I never thought I would be a teacher — ever,” she said. “I never liked going to school like, ‘I’m going to be a teacher.’ I’ve always loved the fashion industry, so I’ve always wanted to be a part of it.”

It wasn’t until a professor at Delta College proposed to Anaya for a teaching position that she entertained a career in education. However, it took some serious convincing. The professor, Leslie Asfour, was passionate about Anaya taking a college course; she thought Anaya, with her degree and knowledge, was a perfect fit.

She was right.

“My first response was, I’m not a teacher!” Anaya said. “I don’t know how to do this.”

Anaya was hesitant to take the job opportunity, but a conversation with her mother changed her decision. His mother told her to just go for it.

“I just tried it, and I can tell you that when I was at Delta, I taught there for three years,” Anaya said. “I taught intro to fashion merchandising. I also had product development, Event Productions, which was like our class that did the fashion shows at Delta; and product knowledge classes. … I enjoyed teaching all ages. So I had students who were 18 all the way up to like in The 80s, and it was very cool dynamic.”

Her career would take another turn.

Once again, Anaya was encouraged to step outside her comfort zone and take another teaching position by a colleague, Victoria Brunn.

“One of my jobs when I was teaching at Delta was to reach out to the high schools in our area,” Anaya said, “and so one of the high schools was Manteca High. The teacher here, I knew her because we had a mutual friend, so I wanted to talk to her and encouraged her to send her fashion students to Delta and things like that. Finally she called me out of the blue and just said, ‘Hey, I’m quitting teaching and going to work in the district office. I think you’d be perfect as a high school teacher.”

Anaya quickly declined. She thought of it as taking a “step down”. But after giving it some thought, she called the teacher back and jumped at the chance to teach with Manteca Unified.

“I love teaching high school more than Delta College,” she said. “… I feel like I’m making more of an impact here with middle school kids, and it’s just a little bit more dynamic, and energetic, challenging.”

She has advice for her students, especially those facing an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone. Her words come from a place of understanding.

“I always say we all live in this bubble. It’s very easy for us to live in this bubble, right? It’s like all we know. … When I took that job (at Delta College), it was like I was in my bubble, and then it was like I had to think outside that bubble. ‘OK, can I be a teacher?’ That’s way outside my bubble, so I always tell my students to think outside your bubble.”

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