When the bell rings on Aug. 27, there will be a new principal at Lakeville Elementary greeting students and parents as they embark on a new school year together.
Kristin E. Guinn, a 1988 graduate of Utica Ford High School, will be leading the K-5 school from now on.
“I want to be the type of principal that I want my own kids to have,” she said.
Kristy Gibson-Marshall, who had been Lakeville’s principal since 2007, is moving over to the high school to serve as an interim assistant principal there.
Prior to being hired by Oxford, Guinn, who lives in the Washington Township area, had served as principal of Endeavour Elementary and Middle School, part of New Haven Community Schools, since 2014.
Before that, she spent 16 years working for Warren Consolidated Schools, beginning in 1998. She taught at the elementary and middle school levels for 11 years before becoming the assistant principal of Flynn Middle School from 2009-14.
During that time, Guinn also served as the interim principal of North Star Alternative Middle School and assistant principal of Pearl Lean Elementary School.
Guinn is happy to be Wildcat country’s newest resident.
“It was actually a lot of fun to research what’s going on in Oxford because a lot of good things are happening here,” she said. “The (test) scores are really good. There’s a lot of amazing programs. Innovative things are really taking place here.”
“This is like a hidden gem,” Guinn noted. “They’ve got a really good thing going here,
so I’m excited (and) I’m honored to be a part of it.”
She couldn’t say enough good things about the folks she’s encountered thus far.
“Everybody’s approachable and friendly and (wants) to help you,” Guinn said. “I’ve been so impressed with all the people that I’ve met.”
Believe it or not, education is actually Guinn’s second career.
Originally, she graduated from Wayne State University (WSU), where she played basketball for five years, with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Park Services. She started off working in the field of therapeutic recreation.
Following an internship in Atlanta, Georgia, where she worked with patients with spinal cord injuries, Guinn was hired by St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Macomb County. There, she worked in rehabilitation, primarily with stroke patients.
Unfortunately, the job became too emotionally difficult for Guinn because she gets “really attached to folks” and it was “heartbreaking” for her when patients passed away.
It was her position as the junior varsity girls basketball coach at Bishop Foley Catholic High School in Madison Heights that made Guinn realize her future was in education.
Being in a school setting and working with student-athletes made her realize “this is where I was supposed to be all along.”
“It always just felt natural,” Guinn explained. “Education, it was right there. It was a door that I hadn’t opened yet and it was sitting right in front of me the entire time.”
Her first job in education was teaching fourth-graders for the Lee County School District in Cape Coral, Florida. She did that for a year before being hired by Warren Consolidated Schools.
Guinn has never regretted her decision to become an educator.
“I get to come to school every day,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like work.”
As Lakeville’s new principal, Guinn wants staff, students and parents to know her leadership style is “collaborative.”
“I’m very team-oriented . . . I can’t do this alone, so I need everybody to jump on board,” she said.
She values parents and the community, and believes having support, input and participation from both are “instrumental” to the educational process.
Guinn is not someone who views herself as knowing everything or having all the answers.
“I’m not perfect. And I’ll be the first one to admit that,” she said.
Her goal is to “emulate” all the qualities she liked about the teachers and principals who “inspired” her when she was growing up.
To Guinn, a good principal is both a leader and a servant.
“Being a leader in a school setting is really about serving everybody else,” she explained, particularly students and parents.
“Those are our clients. Those are our customers,” Guinn said. “It’s really about doing the best you can to (meet their needs).”
Outside of work, Guinn enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her husband of 17 years, Matthew Guinn, who’s an elementary school principal for Warren Consolidated Schools.
The couple has four sons – Xzavier, 14; Maxxin, 13; Maguire, 12; and Kaidian, 8.
All four kids attend Romeo Community Schools, so Guinn hopes no one in Wildcat country will hold it against her that she’s raising a family of Bulldogs.
Given she’s in “the back third” of her career, Guinn sees herself spending many years in Oxford, then retiring.
“This is where I want to land,” she said.