2010 Longview High School graduate Conlan Northcutt shares her thoughts following a summer internship with Huckabee Architects, the same firm currently building the new LISD Montessori campus. 

Alumna looks back on Huckabee internship

Fri Oct 28, 2016

By Conlan Northcutt

My road from Longview High School to Huckabee has been full of twists and turns. When I graduated from Longview High School in 2010, I had little idea that my career would bring me back to East Texas in such a short time.

I entered the Longview Independent School District system as a freshman at Longview High School in 2005. During my four years at LHS I studied Latin with the renowned Charles Parsons, witnessed the ability of Isaac Anders to train and build a tennis team and followed the Lobo football team to two state championship games. In June of 2010 I graduated and went on to attend Baylor University.

At Baylor I discovered my passion for education. During a summer in Washington, D.C. working for a member of Congress, I realized that education is one of the most crucial elements for the future success of young people. The following fall I was fortunate enough to begin working for a charter school in Waco where I explored that passion more fully. With a very certain trajectory planned for my life, I graduated in the spring of 2014 with a BA in Political Science and moved to DC to pursue a career in education.

After six months in DC I came to the realization that this very certain course I had planned for my life was not a viable plan for my future. Knowing that I wanted to go back to school, I found myself in a period of reflection and changed my approach to education. Design had always been a passion of mine, but never something I viewed with career potential. In the fall of 2015 I started the Masters of Arts in Interior Design program at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. My first year of school challenged me with a whole new way of thinking, combining the analytical skills I have always used while demanding creativity and the generation of original ideas. At the end of my first year, I wanted experience in the work place, and began seeking internship opportunities.

In March, I received an offer to intern for Huckabee in Fort Worth. Huckabee is an architecture and engineering firm that excels in school design. They are a national leader in educational design and are paving the way for the future of Texas education. At Huckabee, I realized the potential to blend my education background with my design degree. They have done numerous schools and projects for Longview ISD and it is through their current project with LISD that I learned about this internship. It was a privilege to work for and learn from them this summer.

While at Huckabee I was able to see portions of the design for new Montessori Pre-K/Kindergarten school that is being built in Longview. When the school opens in the Fall of 2017 it will be the first Montessori school to house the entire Pre-K and Kindergarten population of a school district under one roof. When I was in kindergarten and first grade, I attended Richmond Montessori School in Richmond, Virginia. Montessori education made a profound impact on my life and the way I have continued to approach education. I am thrilled that this method of education is being offered to Longview students and look forward to seeing the progress that is made in this innovative building.

During my time at Huckabee I was fortunate to spend a day at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (the BRIC). The BRIC is a collaborative between Huckabee, Baylor University, and Education Service Center Region 12. Through Huckabee’s expert educational design experience, Baylor’s devoted educational department and the resources and practices of ESC Region 12, the BRIC serves as a location for educational research, training and forging new pathways for Texas schools.

When I visited, Huckabee was conducting a full day exercise for a nearby school district that had recently built a new elementary school. The entire staff of the school was able to come to the BRIC and learn about their new space, give feedback about their first year of occupancy, and brainstorm how to begin their school year with processes in place to make the most of their new facility. This day was truly one of the most eye opening and fulfilling experiences of my internship. It was another example of how earnestly Huckabee works to provide the best resources for their clients. Pushing boundaries that exist not only in the minds of educators but also in the physical parameters of classrooms. Huckabee not only strives to be the best in educational design, but also to be the best at equipping all those involved in education for the future.

With so much of my family history rooted in this city, I am delighted to witness the advances taking place in Longview ISD. My brother graduated from LHS with an IB diploma and because of this opportunity his high school years were vastly different than mine. He entered college with a different perspective and set of standards for his educational experience, and I believe this applies to all students in some way. This summer has intensely altered how I think about the future of my own higher education, has intensified my desire to challenge and change the world of education and has inspired me with the knowledge that others are pushing the boundaries and striving for excellence.

— A top 2% graduate from Longview High, Conlan Northcutt earned her Bachelor's in Political Science and Government from Baylor in 2014. Currently she is a pursuing a Master's in Interior Design from Marymount University in Washington, D.C.