Anastasia’s path to Homewood traverses Georgetown, Hollywood


Anastasia in her Georgetown dorm.

Josie Robertson, Photo Editor

Many of high school seniors understand that deciding to cross state lines to attend college can be a struggle. Leslie Anastasia, Homewood’s AP Language and Composition teacher, added two thousand miles to that decision. 

Originally from the small town of Brewton, Ala., Anastasia found herself at Georgetown University. She started college by going into the University’s Pre-Medicine program. 

“I made a high score on MCAT and interviewed for medical school,” Anastasia said. But ultimately, she decided she did not want to be a doctor like her father. Anastasia was minoring in English and always had more fun in those classes. 

“There were 400 valedictorians in my class at Georgetown,” she said, noting how attending a prestigious school after growing up in a small town challenged her academically.

Back in Brewton, she had been one of the brightest students in her class. “It was a part of my identity,” she said. At Georgetown, however, she recalls struggling with the reality that she was not in the top percent of her class.

Meanwhile, in her English classes, Anastasia excelled. “I still felt like my old self,” she said, adding that she eventually switched to becoming an English major.  

Anastasia remembers one significant impact of her time in Georgetown, an English professor, famously known for specializing in screenwriting, Prof. John Glavin. 

Glavin has taught for half a century. Some students of his include comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney.

“I ended up liking the class and him, even though he was famously difficult,” she said. 

Anastasia found a passion for writing scripts and, though her career’s destination was unclear, moved to Los Angeles with a group of colleagues. After only one week in LA, Anastasia secured an internship with FourBoys Entertainment.

“I critiqued made-for-TV movies,” she said. 

She implies that the scripts were mostly like “Hallmark movies,” admitting that some were painful to read. One script she remembers passing on is 2005’s Monster-in-Law that stars Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez.

In addition to critiquing scripts, Anastasia wrote a handful of feature-length films and short films, her favorite being a play at Georgetown put on as a murder mystery and solved with an airbrush T-shirt. 

Another job Anastasia worked was at a restaurant named Gladstones in Malibu. She remembers working a cast party for Zoey 101, a Nickelodeon television show starring Jamie Lynn Spears. Spears accidentally spilled her Diet Coke, so Anastasia cleaned the mess under the table and thought, “What am I doing?”

She said she “was not maximizing [her] unique potential,” a nod The Homewood Way. She had to work so much that she couldn’t focus on writing, her true passion. 

Anastasia eventually returned to Brewton to figure out what she wanted to do. Her dad called her with a job offer from one of his patients as an English teacher at a local community college.

“I felt betrayed,” she said. The sole reason she returned home was to focus on figuring out her next move.

Anastasia felt obligated to take the job because her parents let her come home and stay for free. She taught two English classes for one semester. The following semester, they offered her the job again.

“I remember panicking,” she said. She needed to make a decision. 

Anastasia’s best friend from high school had an extra room open in a two-bedroom apartment in Tuscaloosa. She then called the University of Alabama, despite missing every deadline and asked to start classes. 

She began school and January and got a teaching degree.

“And I’ve been doing it ever since!”