Rick Misenti - Principal Guilford High School

The teacher who changed my life was Virginia ‘Ginny’ LaBrant, a high school teacher in St. Petersburg, Florida.  When I met her, I was a senior in college and needed a linguistics’ course to complete my major.  The course was not being offered either semester.  To accommodate my need, the college hired a teacher who provided the required instruction to me throughout the semester.  That teacher was Ginny and that instruction was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

When I graduated from college, I began teaching at the high school where Ginny taught.  Her recommendation of me to the school’s principal was the beginning of a wonderful career in education. 

Ginny became a role model to me.  I aspired to be the kind of teacher she was.  The impact she has had on me has been enduring, and the lessons she has taught me about teaching and learning have had a powerful impact on me as a teacher and later as a principal. 

I learned so much from experiencing her total commitment to teaching, learning and her compassionate interest in all the students that she taught.  Ginny was always kind and sincere to her students and she was always sensitive to the needs of all students.  Her connection with students is something that I aspire to even today.  She was generous with her time and empathetic with students, parents, and her peers.  She was a tremendously effective teacher and she had enormous credibility in the community as an educator. Students and colleagues will forever attest to Ginny’s dedication to education and her skills as a teacher.

Ginny was instrumental in providing a strong foundation in my career.  Her guidance, support, and purposeful interaction with students, colleagues, and families strengthened my resolve to be the best educator possible.

A quote from Jesse Stuart, a former teacher, administrator and author best sums up my experience and relationship with Virginia ‘Ginny’ LaBrant.  It reads: “I am firm in my belief that a teacher lives on and on through his students.  Good teaching is forever and the teacher is immortal.”