Last month, when Dr. Gloria Guba announced she would be from her assistant superintendent position with Falls Church City Public Schools in June, she did so with no clear plan on what she would do next.
Interested in the outdoors and an avid golfer, Guba said she also has eyed volunteer opportunities to fill her soon-to-be “free time.”
“The good news is you have choices, but then you have to narrow them down,” Guba said of the various opportunities to volunteer with different organizations.
Since 2001, Guba has led FCCPS’ Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. She has more than 40 years of experience in education on the collegiate and public- and private-school realms. In 1971, Guba landed her first education job in the West Chester (Pa.) Area School District as a social science teacher.
Sitting in her mid-size office – decorated with Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Phillies pennants and a Georgetown University basketball schedule, plus several awards and other items – Guba spoke of another of her passions. Though she never played organized sports – she only participated in intramural basketball – Guba enjoyed coaching. A former lacrosse coach, she said the impact coaches have on the athletes on and off the field is essential to the overall development of students.
“Those who haven’t coached don’t know what they’re missing,” Guba said, “to make the attempt and, in many cases, help young people find their voices either on the field or in the gymnasium.”
That enthusiasm and motivation a coach instills in their team is something Guba delivered that Joan Wodiska said she would miss.
Wodiska, president of the Virginia School Board Association and former chair of the FCCPS school board, said Guba’s budget pep talks were a legendary source of inspiration. She said Guba stood as a lighthouse in the churning, evolving sea of public education.
Guba helped ensure that FCCPS schools were truly a place for every student to learn, grow, develop and succeed in life, Wodiska said. Wodiska said Guba’s lesson to her is to stay vigilant, to remember their work is never done, and to keep pushing forward until every student succeeds.
“Dr. Guba exemplified constant, calm, compassionate leadership,” Wodiska said. “She shined a bright light on those who needed the most help, focused our work beyond the rocky shores to see the opportunity ahead, and provided inspiration to forge ahead even in the darkest nights.”
Guba hasn’t planned much traveling after her last day on the job, and she isn’t sure if she will stay in the area or return to her native Pennsylvania. This area has a lot to offer, Guba said, but she will see where things lead her.
“It’s going to be tough to get the education bug out of my system,” Guba said. “I’ve considered going back to school. I’d want to take up something that could help me be a career switcher.”