LaTisha Guillory HAABSE Teacher of the Year Award

By Allan Jamail

June 18, 2024 – I’ve interviewed lots of folks, but not many as equal to caring for kids as my honoree for this week’s article is. Mrs. LaTisha Guillory is changing our North Channel children’s lives to ensure they’ll have the education to set their goals as high as they want and reach them.

Some say that a good education can change anyone, and a good teacher like Guillory can change everything. The Galena Park ISD educator is proving just how much teachers have the power to ignite the passion and love for learning that students need to succeed.

Mrs. LaTisha Guillory, an English teacher at North Shore Senior High 10th Grade Center, was named the 2023 Houston Area Alliance Black School Educator (HAABSE) Outstanding Secondary Teacher of the Year for the entire Houston area in February 2024, a recognition given to educators who exemplify excellence in their field. The purpose of the Outstanding Teacher Awards is to say “thank you” to teachers for the outstanding job they do in working with children.

The HAABSE Retired Educator’s Committee reviewed applications, determined and interviewed finalists and then selected the recipients.

Guillory was first made aware of being selected by D-MARS, a Houston business consulting and developing company known for many services and educating the community, operating under President and CEO, Keith J. Davis, Sr, also known as “Mr. D-MARS.”

“Receiving this honor surprised me,” Guillory said. “For me, it’s just simply doing my job, building relationships, being an impactful teacher, and I was just so happy to be recognized for doing that. To sum it up, this honor means being an effective teacher and doing the groundwork. Because I had just been doing my job, it was unexpected, so I was totally, totally shocked. It still hasn’t settled in.”

Her journey began 22 years ago while attending Louisiana Tech as a graduate student and working full-time at Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home, where she supervised the nurturing of misguided youth in state custody. Observing a rise in adverse behavior during school hours deepened her commitment to the youth and prompted a desire to make a difference beyond juvenile confinement.

Dedicated to fostering a love of literature and critical thinking, she began teaching at Lincoln Parish Secondary Alternative School. Subsequently, in addition to being Miss Tish, the evening staff supervisor, she also became Mrs. Guillory, their teacher, during the day.

In addition to being an educator, Guillory also serves as a cheerleader for her students. The owner of Balloon Bosses takes pride in celebrating them for birthdays, athletic games and other special occasions. She goes above and beyond to ensure her students feel special, seen and heard.

Guillory said, “I try to make sure that they walk into balloons or some type of celebration. I don’t take this job lightly. I know the impact that I have on our future.”

Guillory is a Grambling State University alumna with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Psychology. She has a younger brother, Devin Guillory, who also graduated from Grambling State University, and he is a high school band director in North Louisiana. Her husband, Thomas McNair, graduated from the University of the District of Columbia and is a Cyber security Analyst. Her older sister and younger brother are college graduates as well. Her oldest brother is a 25+ year Marine veteran. Other siblings are Cheryl Guillory and Bobby Holts.

While Guillory loves being an educator, her faith was tested when she recently lost her mother to cancer.

“This year was personal for me because for the last seven years in addition to teaching, I was a caregiver for my mom, who had cancer. The day that I got back from spring break, that Monday, my mom had a stroke, in addition to the cancer. We found out the cancer had spread, and I lost my mom a week later—in the middle of testing,” commented Guillory.

Guillory tearfully explained, “It was rough, and so coming back to school, I was like, ‘God, I give up. I can’t do anymore.’ I literally told my mom (before she died), ‘I’m not going back to teach,’ and she was like, ‘Why? You are going back. You’re going back and you’re going to continue.’”

Guillory did just what her mother told her to do and continued to teach.

“It’s essentially been a clean sweep this year,” Guillory said. “I just focused. I threw myself into everything I could throw myself into. It’s mine.”

In addition to the HAASBE Secondary Teacher of the Year honor, Guillory’s recent awards recognizing her community and classroom efforts include Houston’s Pink Bowl Most Influential Leader, NS10 Houston Alliance of Black School Educators (HAABSE) Teacher of the Year, 2024 HAABSE Secondary Teacher of the Year, Distinguished Distinction of Academic Growth and a Women’s History Month spotlight feature celebrating achievements of female entrepreneurs.

Her advice for other educators is to give themselves grace.

“Each day is a new day to start off new with your kids. Before trying to teach our kids, make sure you do the groundwork,” Guillory said.

One amazing lesson that she says she learned this year was that you reap what you sow. She is all in and committed to pouring into her students every single day. She wants them to know that they are mentally and emotionally healthy and ready to receive instruction. Her students know that she’ll always strongly promote their self-awareness and positive affirmations. She never misses an opportunity to reiterate to her students how powerful words are.

She has seen them reciprocate their efforts with compassion. It was her students that gave her the reason she was able to push through grief this year after losing her mother in order to assist them in their academic growth. They left Guillory encouraging notes around the room throughout the year when they knew she was having a rough day.

She said, “It’s moments like these that make teaching one of the most rewarding professions.”

In high school she was a first-chair clarinet player in the high school concert band and a majorette in the marching band. Her favorite actors/actresses are Angela Bassett, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, Denzel Washington, and Jonah Hill, and her favorite food is seafood, and she enjoys baking.

She said, “Although I could never live there because of the extreme temperatures, my favorite place to travel is Aspen, Colorado. The snow-covered mountain views are unmatched! It is a great place to simply sit in front of a fireplace and read for hours.”

Her concluding advice for this article is: “Nothing in life is free. You get what you work for, not what you wish for.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.