Princess Anne waves goodbye to retiring Biology teacher Gina Faison as she closes out on 27 years of teaching at PA.
“Since the pandemic, I have had an opportunity to spend more time with my children and my eleven-month-old grandson,” she says. “It became even more apparent to me that I needed to retire so that I could maintain my health and continue to enjoy my family.”
Having taught for 35 years within the district, spending eight years teaching math and science at Independence Middle, and 27 years at PA―most recently teaching Biology―Faison officially retired from teaching on Jan. 1, 2021. Across her teaching career, Faison recalls that her “fondest memories all stem from sponsoring the various clubs for students,” to include Women of Worth, Diversity Club, and Mr. and Ms. PA; in addition, she has played an active role in the selection of “diverse students to attend ODU Diversity Workshop” and has been dedicated to school decoration for and celebration of Black History Month each year at PA.
However, as so many teachers across the nation are experiencing, the pandemic has had its toll on Faison’s confidence in the safety of the profession, and she has thus accelerated her plans for retirement. “While I had been thinking about retirement before the pandemic,” she conveys, “I did decide to expedite my retirement once the pandemic hit.”
With her retirement, Faison leaves behind a legacy of support for and interest in her students’ success. She is reminded of this fact upon receipt of letters and graduation pictures from her former students. “I have created a collage of such letters and pictures that date as far back as 25 years,” she says. “Doing so helps to remind me of the impact that I have made in the lives of my students.”
Faison directs focus to the gratitude that she holds for the ability to maintain her wellbeing and that of the community through her retirement, saying, “I am blessed to be able to retire at this time and begin a new chapter in my life.”