The day could have been a melancholy one, but Ginny Yanson
, 63, was having none of that.
said the time is right to step into the next stage of her
life after four decades as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.
"Pasco County has been fabulous to me," Yanson
Yanson became Sand Pine's first and, until now, only principal when the school opened in 1998 to provide much-needed relief to crowded Quail Hollow Elementary, where Yanson had served as principal for 12 years.
student population had grown to about 1,300, more than double its capacity.
moved into her
new school in the Meadow Pointe development, Pasco's growth followed.
Sand Pine opened over capacity and by 2005 the school had more students in portable classrooms than in regular classrooms.
"A lot of people think if you bring in portables, it's OK," Yanson
In the meantime, Yanson
teachers kept educating.
Because that's what she
Early on, Yanson
loved teaching more than anything.
is a Tampa native, but she
career at a school near the Mexican border in Arizona where she
taught the children of migrants and Cocopah Indians.
It was near perfect.
husband, "I can't believe they are paying me to play all day."
"Teaching was just so much fun," Yanson
"It wasn't like work to me."
spent two years at that school and five in Flagstaff before she
returned to Florida 33 years ago and took a teaching job at Schrader Elementary in Pasco County.
A year later, she became assistant principal at Hudson Elementary.
She also served a stint as assistant principal at Moon Lake Elementary before she earned her promotion to principal at Quail Hollow.
The school provided Yanson
with one of her
For two years, Quail Hollow
put on "Circus of the Kids," an educational program that weaves in academics while turning children into jugglers, trapeze artists and acrobats.
Circus performers came to the school to train the children and Quail Hollow took its act on the road, performing for other schools.
"It was such a great community thing," Yanson
The school also participated in a student exchange program, somewhat unusual for the elementary level.
French students came to Quail Hollow
and some Quail Hollow students traveled to Paris.
"That was pretty unique," said Yanson
, who also brought the exchange program to Sand Pine one year.
Not every memory is a happy one.
In December 1997, Quail Hollow students were performing their winter program at Victorious Life Church on Old Pasco Road
A father who had parked his
car at a nearby country club was struck and killed by a car as he
walked toward the church.
"That was really difficult," Yanson
"It literally looked just like a war zone," Yanson
In the latest issue of the Sand Pine PTA newsletter, PTA President Peggy D'Alessandro praised Yanson for her support of the organization and her dedication to children.
is happy about one other thing, too.
An elementary school principal's day starts long before students arrive.
gets to sleep in now.