Fountain Hills Unified School District’s goal is to prepare students to venture out and succeed in the world, but there is a fair share of successful graduates who have come back to their alma mater to help the next generation of Falcons soar.
Currently, there are nine staff members working across the three FHUSD campuses who attended the district when they were students.
This is the second article in a series profiling the FHUSD staff who returned to the nest.
The Brothers Keating
It would seem that, since the year 2000, there has always being a Keating on the Fountain Hills High School campus.
Matt Keating graduated as part of the class of 2004 and now teaches social studies and English. He is the oldest of four siblings.
Austin Keating graduated in the class of 2015 and now is in his first year of teaching English at FHHS. He is the youngest Keating.
Going to school with family can be its own special type of fun, but having a brother as a student was on a whole new level for Matt.
“Austin probably had it worse off,” Matt said with a laugh. “Having me for a teacher, I would just grade him harsher. The best for me, though, was sending home progress reports because I would jokingly put a conference request to my folks, like, ‘listen, guys, we got trouble here.’”
Austin does agree that Matt graded him harsher but he also fondly remembers his bother as being part of his public school career.
“A big part of my high school and middle school experience was (Matt),” Austin said. “I had him as an eighth grade teacher, freshmen teacher and I think I even [teacher assisted], too. Essentially he was involved in all four years. It defiantly influenced me into getting into teaching as well, because I saw how well liked he was and how much influence he had on the kids around him and that was something I wanted to do for my community.”
Neither of the Keatings started Arizona State University with education in mind but they both had a role model that guided them to the field.
“I was originally doing business,” Matt said. “But I went back to help coach basketball with [Principal] Dr. J, who was my coach in high school. So I fell in love with teaching through the coaching side of it and changed my major.”
In Austin’s case, that role model that pushed him to education was Matt.
Neither Austin nor Matt intended to come back and teach in Fountain Hills, but the opportunity was just there at the right time. They agree that something about Fountain Hills seems to draw people back.
“I think it really just speaks volumes to the community here that people come back,” Austin said. “The type of town we have here in Fountain Hills is really one in a million.”
Matt and Austin still share sibling-type barbs with each other but the big debate that has everyone at FHHS weighing in is who gets to be called Mr. Keating?