79-year-old Lantana Middle School substitute teacher makes a difference for students

Substitute teacher Mike McGinty educates students at Lantana Middle School on Feb. 11, 2022.jpg
Posted at 2:36 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 18:05:26-05

LANTANA, Fla. — At schools all across the country and in our area, districts are dealing with a severe shortage of substitute teachers.

But at Lantana Middle School, there is a constant on campus: a sub who's been making a difference to kids for years.

In the classroom, students at Lantana Middle School feed off his energy.

"They actually call me grandpa. That started a number of years ago," said substitute teacher Mike McGinty, who's going to be 80 in April.

With a positive attitude, he's always on the go, walking across campus to different classrooms.

"It brings back memories. I used to do it as a kid," McGinty said, laughing.

McGinty is using all his life experience and passing it on to his students, giving back as a substitute teacher.

"It's rewarding. You see a student in sixth grade struggling, and then by the time they get to eighth grade, you see their scores go up and they moved up a level or two," McGinty said.

McGinty retired in 2000 after spending decades working in finance for Ford Motor Company. About seven years later when the recession hit, he stepped into the classroom as a sub teaching math, quickly winning over the kids and his colleagues.

"He can zero in on a kid who may look like they're having a bad day or struggling, and his personality just lifts them up. Same as adults," said Lantana Middle School Principal Edward Burke.

McGinty has been with the School District of Palm Beach County for 15 years. He's part-time, but comes to teach every single day.

"School is getting harder and harder every day because of COVID, but you gotta have someone who makes you want to go to school every day," said student Grant Stromoski.

And during a pandemi when it's hard to attract substitute teachers, McGinty brings continuity in the classroom, interaction, and he's become a star at this school.

"I love it. I will probably continue until physically I'm unable to do it, and as long as the school system will have me," McGinty said.

This school year, pay has been increased for substitute teachers in the School District of Palm Beach County.

If you are interested in becoming a sub, click here.