Brian Ginn: Math Teacher, Rock Connoisseur, and Coca-Cola Fanatic

There are very few days that Dr. Brian Ginn’s students don’t look forward to his class. Whether it’s the beginning moments, where students bring him rocks to identify or peer into the recycling bin on the way to their seats to find the plethora of coke cans resting at the bottom, students know that with each class, comes a new adventure. Dr. Ginn understands the situation his students find themselves in, as he was once one who was passionate about geology and ambitious for the future. But at the same time, he knows the curve balls life is willing to throw at every one of us.  

As a student, Ginn always wanted to be a professor. After attending both the University of Florida and Notre Dame, he was finally able to research environmental chemistry. During this time, he seized the opportunity to share his research on nuclear heavy metals in Japan, a topic that normally doesn’t get the emphasis it deserves.   

Ginn has experienced hardships throughout his career, for example, when the subprime mortgage crisis occurred in 2007. To accommodate for the recession science funding was cut in all areas by the government, leaving him unemployed for a year. This was like a reset button for him, so he decided to return home to the sunshine state. Knowing he still wanted to be a professor, he became the next best thing, a teacher.

Often being a teacher is frowned upon as it’s not considered a prestigious job compared to others in the field. But, Ginn didn’t care, at this point in his career he knew the impact he would make as a teacher and that’s all that mattered to him. He originally got certified to teach chemistry, but, as he learned more about the education system and the vacancies found in the mathematics department, he rethought his decision. His passion for science stemmed from the intellectual challenge it presented and found he found that same concept in mathematics. In addition, he imagined he would enjoy teaching calculus, due to its close connection to the concepts found in Chemistry.  

Although being a math teacher was not his goal when he first started his career, his dedication to his students is unmatched. This dedication is rooted in the difference he’s making in a younger generation. There are some parts of teaching that he doesn’t like, such as the tight standards that prevent students from understanding the necessary real-life application material. Being able to provide students with the knowledge that they will apply to their everyday lives, rather than just meeting benchmarks, is a vital part of education in the eyes of Ginn. Every morning when he steps into his classroom, he holds this value close to his heart and as when his students grow, both intellectually and in maturity, he knows he’s succeeding. 

In the end, even though all the dominos never aligned for him and he couldn’t become a professor, he has found a home at Hillsborough High School, doing something he loves. That’s all that matters to him. He has realized that there is more to life than just making money. It is about making difference.