Retired teacher gets 'A' for people skills

When Jeannie Flint talks about her life—the places she’s traveled to, the people and causes she’s worked with—it makes her ask herself, “Am I lucky or what?”

In Flint’s 28-year career, she worked for 16 Glendale Unified Schools and served as a principal for 17 years between Cerritos Elementary, R.D. White Elementary and Roosevelt Middle School.

Luck may be a part of it for Flint, along with hard work and a sense of humor her friends adore.

“She’s so talented, sweet and educated,” said Bobbi Gangi, the president of Las Candelas. “She’s got such a personality. She’s really fun to be around.”

Originally from Winnipeg, Flint’s family moved to Glendale when she was 12. She attended Toll Middle School and Hoover High School, and stumbled into her career as a preschool assistant.

“This is it,” she thought “I know what I’m going to do.”

She attended Glendale Community College, earned her credentials from Cal State L.A. and master’s from Pepperdine. After student-teaching at Glenoaks Elementary, she was offered a job.

During her career, Flint, 66, emphasized a behavior model that rewarded children for kindness, with teachers and custodians doling out gold slips regularly.

“I always like to catch kids being good instead of bad,” she said.

NBC News put Flint on the evening news when, as principal of Cerritos Elementary, she sat on the school’s roof for one day, fulfilling a promise after students collectively read 500,000 minutes. From her rooftop perch, she congratulated each class and they sang to her.

Speaking of students, Flint said, “I see them as adults now. I see them all over town. I can be in Palm Desert or Carlsbad and I hear, ‘Mrs. Flint!’ They tell me things like ‘I still have my paper maché pig.’ They remember things that make me think, ‘It was worthwhile.’”

Before retiring in 1999 from Roosevelt Middle School, those who knew Flint best found it hard to believe she ever rested.

“I bet you’ve never seen your house in the daylight,” a parent told her. A request from her husband, Dave, was simple enough. “His wish was that there would be my car when the garage door came up at night.”

Two years into her retirement, gardening hadn’t panned out. “I gave it a shot. It’s just too hard,” she said, laughing. She traded her longtime titles of teacher and principal for “professional volunteer” as it reads on her business cards.

Currently the president of Philanthropic Educational Organization, and the membership coordinator of Las Candelas, she also volunteers with Glendale Healthy Kids and proofreads Oakmont Country Club’s monthly newsletter. She often returns to R.D. White to read stories to first-graders or work the school’s book fairs.

Pearl Wells, the vice president of P.E.O., could not say enough about Flint. “She’s easy to work with because she’s bright. She’s articulate. She’s organized. She’s hard working, decisive. She follows through. On top of all that, she’s a people person.”

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World