People Of The Plains: A Lost Cause

Sep 14, 2017

Jeff Caseltine
Credit Courtesy

Native Texans are generally associated with things like cowboy hats, southern drawls, and Sam Elliott-like demeanors.  While a diehard conservative, and while sporting the occasional southern accent for the sake of a few laughs (insisting that he “really talks like this” all the while), Jeff Caseltine does not epitomize the “traditional” native Texan. Instead, things that come to mind when describing Jeff are celebrity impersonations, socks and sandals, and a prevailing enthusiasm and heart for the kids he teaches. 

Raised primarily in the suburbs of Austin, Texas, Jeff is a born performer. Be it his high school theater class at Lago Vista High, or karaoke at Buffalo Wild Wings, he is most at home while making people smile or laugh with his talents. 

Jeff joined the Navy in 1984 where he served until 1986 on the U.S.S. Vincennes. Throughout the eight years he spent post-military, he held many exciting jobs, including being KTSA’s leading radio man as Jeff the Kool Breeze. 

In 1994, Jeff fell in love with and married his wife Shannon in small town Booker, Texas.  Jeff, Shannon, and 13-year-old step-son TJ packed their things in 1995 and hauled off to Stillwater, Oklahoma where Shannon would eventually become pregnant and give birth to their first child in 1996, a daughter named Sarah.  A few years would pass before Shannon would become pregnant again in 1998 and give birth to their son, Michael. The Caseltine’s would call Stillwater home for the next nine years, where Jeff worked as a caretaker for Stillwater Group Homes, Inc., caring for adults with mental disabilities. However,  Jeff was called to work as an aid for an autistic child at the elementary school his children attended in 2003.  During his time there, it became clear to him that he wanted nothing more than to teach. He attended Oklahoma State University from 2004 until his departure from Stillwater in 2007 when he and his family moved to Abilene, Texas. 

In Abilene, Jeff continued his work as a caretaker for a man with cerebral palsy, attended school at McMurry University, and taught a fourth grade Sunday school class at Beltway Baptist Church. In 2012, Jeff attained a Bachelor of Science degree from McMurry University, with the intention of teaching young children. For three years after attaining his degree, Jeff worked for Sylvan Learning Center as the Regional Director of Education, but always desired teaching in a classroom setting, rather than for an after-school program. 

In 2015, a job for a kindergarten teacher became available in his sister-in-law’s hometown, Canadian, Texas.  The Caseltine’s mulled it over, and eventually came to the decision that the ideas of both being closer to family and Jeff getting the opportunity to do what he loved made it an obvious choice.  The couple now happily lives in Canadian, Texas, where Jeff often ponders the question his kindergarten students incessantly bring to his attention: Is he the greatest teacher in the universe or in the galaxy?

Sarah Caseltine currently studies English at West Texas A&M University with the intent of following in her father’s footsteps to become an educator, and works as a gymnastics coach in Amarillo, Texas.Sarah has three brothers, and spends a large majority of her free time at the dog park with her dogs Jude and Annabel.