Anderson evolution

An inside look at Don Anderson’s story


Brooke Adams, Jr. Managing Editor

From strong Republican with dreams of becoming a coach to avid traveler dedicated to teaching, economics and government teacher Don Anderson has evolved into someone he never could have predicted becoming.

“Priorities change, and people evolve and grow,” Anderson said. “As a person, you really need to do that to keep your life interesting and motivated.”

When Anderson was young, he was dedicated to the idea of coaching football, influenced by his father being a coach and also playing the sport growing up. Therefore, he decided to pursue that dream and become a coach.

“I still remember in the early part of my coaching career, riding on a bus on a Friday afternoon to a football game and passing cars on the highway, thinking that they were just going home to their dull lives, and I got to coach and have fun,” Anderson said.

However, Anderson did not maintain that mindset and eventually developed a love for teaching after coaching for many years.

“The only way that you can be a coach in the state of Texas is to actually be a teacher,” Anderson said. “I got into teaching so that I could make sure I could coach. After about ten years, I found out I like the teaching part better than the coaching.”

Having lived in Texas for most of his life, Anderson began his coaching and teaching careers in Texas, but one day felt motivated to enact change in his life by moving away to somewhere new.

“I actually lived in the state of Maine for eight years,” Anderson said. “My mother-in-law thought it was a midlife crisis, but it wasn’t. We were just looking for a change.”

Although Anderson said he would always love living in Texas more than anything, he enjoyed how refreshing being somewhere new was.

“[Maine] isn’t better than Texas, but it was good and it was different,” Anderson said. “The people I met were absolutely wonderful. This idea of the South being very friendly and North being very standoffish is completely wrong. They were as nice as they could be, but they just talked funny.”

Personal problems brought Anderson back to Texas, which led him to teach at a few small schools nearby, but he was eventually brought to Allen. Currently, he teaches government and economics at the high school due to his passion for politics.

“I originally started in government because even when I was a kid, I was interested in politics when most people my age had absolutely zero interest in it whatsoever,”  Anderson said. “It just kind of stayed with me.”

The oddest thing about his political interest, according to Anderson, is how much he has moved on the political spectrum. Anderson explained that going from a hardcore conservative to extremely progressive liberal has been an interesting transition.

“When I was a junior and senior in high school, I was a conservative Republican,” Anderson said.“ That was back then, but I’ve completely shifted on the spectrum. The pendulum has completely swung. That’s not the normal transition. Normally, it’s the other way.”

Anderson said that he embraces everyone sharing political views, especially in the classroom because that’s how he learned and grew in his views.

“I used to be very sensitive, especially when it became politics, so I wouldn’t hurt others’ feelings, and now I don’t care,” Anderson said. “I think the whole idea people used to say, that we don’t discuss religion or politics at the dinner table, is the dumbest thing in history because how do you learn anything? How are your views expanded if those two things are shut down?”

Anderson explained that politics is his main passion, but it can be very stressful. Therefore, as he has gotten older, he has looked into more peaceful interests. More specifically, he has become interested in traveling.

“I have started to become [a traveler] as I get older because I realized there’s a lot of things that are out there that I would really like to see,” Anderson said. “My last two trips have been to the ocean in California. The trip before that was the Rocky Mountains.”

Although traveling is a hobby Anderson enjoys, he doesn’t plan on moving anywhere new anytime soon. He has decided to stay in Allen until retirement and is grateful for AP US History teacher Rebecca Richardson for originally getting him this job.

“I’m here because of Mrs. Richardson; she actually got me hired here,” Anderson said. “I’m not leaving here until I retire. This is my last stop.”

Having taught at many schools over his lifetime, Anderson is particularly appreciative of Allen because he believes it is run more efficiently compared to other schools he’s encountered and taught at.  

“[I’ve taught at] at least nine or ten schools because of coaching and moving around, and this is the best place I’ve ever taught,” Anderson said. “It’s not perfect, but some of these people who’ve taught here need to go somewhere else occasionally and see [how much better off Allen is]. They’ll much appreciate what we have here.”

Anderson has changed immensely since he was young, but he says that change is the most important part of life because it makes it more compelling.

“People grow, and they don’t always grow in the same direction, trendline or generalization,” Anderson said. “Sometimes you go different ways. That’s kind of pie in the sky weird. I really didn’t realize how many things in my life have changed, but that’s definitely a good thing.”