Faculty Profile: Laurie McBrinn

Villa is blessed to have had some truly inspiring and memorable teachers walk its halls during its 85-year history. But perhaps none have had quite the impact of one very special English teacher—Laurie McBrinn. Now in her 39th year at Villa, Laurie’s influence on generations of Villa students is unrivaled. Among the many students who’ve called her their favorite teacher are two current students, who recently expressed their sentiments in writing, earning well-deserved accolades for both themselves and for Laurie.

Sophomore Katie Bruni and Freshman Alex Venth each entered the My Favorite Teacher Contest, sponsored each year by Barnes & Noble. The contest challenges students to write an essay, poem, or thank-you letter sharing how a teacher has influenced their life and why they appreciate and admire them. Both girls chose to write about Laurie. Katie’s submission was selected as a winner at the Neshaminy Barnes & Noble. Alex’s received honorable mention.

On Tuesday, April 17, Laurie, Katie, and Alex were honored at the My Favorite Teacher Recognition Event. The evening included readings by the students, the presentation of certificates and gifts, and photos and refreshments. Family members, friends, and colleagues were there to share the special moment with Laurie and the girls. Karen D. Lash, Community Business Development Manager at Barnes & Noble, Inc., who coordinated the event remarked, “Our judging panel was very moved by the beautiful student essays and poems paying tribute to outstanding and inspirational teachers.” Katie and Laurie are now eligible for regional and national recognition in the competition.

To hear Katie and Alex deliver their readings, please click the links below.

Laurie commented, "I believe that this award is more about my students' abilities than it is about me. Katie and Alex proved themselves to be literate, talented, and poised young women the night of the award ceremony at Barnes and Noble Neshaminy. They are a credit to the school and its academic philosophy. I may have provided the inspiration for their entries, but they are the ones who possessed the talent to shine. They humble me."

The outpouring of respect and affection from Alumnae and parents on social media in response to the news is a testament to the lasting power of a teacher, and particularly a teacher as gifted as Laurie McBrinn. Scroll down for a sampling of the comments.

Laurie has been at Villa since 1979. She serves as English Department Chair and the moderator of QUINTESSENCE (Villa’s literary magazine) and the Page Turners’ Society. A self-proclaimed Shakespeare devotee, she also organizes the annual visit of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Her current course load includes AP Literature I & II, Honors English I & II, Accelerated English I & II, and Women in Literature. She previously taught Latin and moderated the National Honor Society. Laurie holds Master’s degrees from Villanova University and Temple University. She is married to Tom Guiniven and is the mother of Molly. Her niece, Amanda Friend, is a 2005 Villa graduate.

Congratulations, Laurie, and thank you for sharing your incredible gifts with all of us. You're an outstanding educator and a true Villa legend.

Paula Stoudemayer Paradiso Lookin' good, Ms. McBrinn! You were definitely my favorite (although Sr. Johanna Marie ran a close second). I reference you at least once a week in my own teaching career!

Colette Campellone Way to go, Ms. McBrinn! So happy you are still impacting eager minds! Congratulations, and all the best to the young ladies who chose to honor you!

Lisa Scariano Aurite Congratulations!!! I still remember your classes and reference you in my own classroom.

Susan Bryan Young My favorite teacher ever! Ms McBrinn was so tough & made you a better student whether you wanted to learn or not. I know many other “jems” feel the same way. Thank you Ms. McBrinn for all you have done for VJM!!

Monica Jones Kelly Ms. McBrinn is the reason I graduated from Muhlenberg College with a degree in English! I’ll never forget language origins or my weekly word list!!

Liz Kukielka Ms. McBrinn laid the foundation for pretty much my whole educational life...my BA in English, my MA in Writing Studies, and understanding medical terminology for my PharmD. In May, I begin a new job as a Medical Writer - finally achieving my dream of turning my passion of writing into my job. Congrats and Thank You Ms. McBrinn!!

Coleen McCrea Katz Our daughter was blessed to be in Ms. McBrinn's class all 4 years at Villa. It was life altering and we will forever be in her debt. This is well deserved.

Melissa Gordon Pinheiro I could not possibly agree more. My children have never even met her, but they know who she is! The absolute best teacher. A living legend.

Annette Canalichio Worthington Congrats Ms McBrinn. I reference you often, and you are why all my friends in college had me proofread their papers before they were turned in! We are always talking about your classes on FB, and fun stuff like my fave Ms McBrinn memory.

Dottie Weiss Shead A wonderful teacher, my daughter has been lucky to have her. We feel the enthusiasm and passion whenever Danielle shares stories of class!

Stephanie Shaeffer Fondest memories of Ms McBrinn....find myself telling HS aged
patients of my etymology days.

Patricia Reilly Louisa Congrats!!!! Most challenging teacher I ever had!!! Cheers!!!

Chipo Jolibois A well deserved honor for an amazing teacher - Ms McBrinn does such a fabulous job with our girls!

Colleen Gaard Congrats Ms. McBrinn! Favorite teacher and the reason I became an English teacher.

JoanAnn Piper Mrs. McBrinn changed my life in ALL THE BEST WAYS!!! Much love!

Dana Eldridge Congratulations to both the girls and Ms. McBrinn! She is such a gifted teacher! I had the honor of being taught by Ms. McBrinn my first three years. I was terrified my Freshman year but quickly adjusted and rose to the challenge in only the way Ms. McBrinn can inspire you to do. I was so upset not to have her my Senior year. May she continue to inspire young minds for years to come!

Victoria Mier A living legend! She laid the foundations and inspired me to become a journalist, and I still think it was her voice in the back of my head that led me down the path of owning my own business and writing fiction.

Jennifer DB I'm an English teacher today partly because of how hard she pushed us to excel.

Stephanie Kelly She was, by far, one of the most influential teachers that I've ever had. Thank you for all that you do, Ms. McBrinn! :)

Elizabeth Andersen You were my mother, Norma McCauley’s Dear Friend and I am now proud to call you mine. I was lucky enough to be in your very first Women in Literature class and you were such an inspiration. You still ARE. This “honour” is well- deserved and I am SO very proud of you.
When Harry lets me borrow the Invisibility Cloak I will be one of your students again.

Christine A. Lacey Papp Congrats Mrs McBrinn!! Well deserved. You impacted so many people.

Christie Farinella Ms. McBrinn was one of the few teachers in my life , that made a lasting impact on me. there is a reason she remains part of Villa. she is one of the best.

Colleen Bannon Bresnahan A very highly recommended teacher who is so adored by all of her past and present students!!! Congratulations!!!

Maureen Rossi Absolutely AMAZING teacher. Hands down one of the best I have in my entire academic career.

Stacia Ficarro Salve, Magistra! Congratulations! Greatest teacher... Had her for Latin all for years and ended up dreaming in Latin and taking notes in Latin- in was that ingrained in my brain!!! I was just reciting a poem that I had to memorize for parent-teacher night to my own students- Odi et Amo. Gotta love Catullus! I don't remember much from high school, except the quadratic formula and practically everything from her class!!! I have a true appreciation for the language, the culture and Greek and Roman mythology. Love her!

Jeannine Cridge Calhoun Ms. McBrinn... a big reason I become a teacher!

Margaret Rowland Congratulations to Katie and Alex! A BIG Thank You to Ms. McBrinn for inspiring so many!

Denise Sojka Schmidt Congratulations, Ms. McBrinn! I have even based much of my teaching style in my science classes on your ability to keep "switching gears": having students complete multiple tasks within a class period.

Anne Scheetz Damon Ms. McBrinn was absolutely the best English teacher I ever had!!! Congratulations!!!

Theresa Byrne-Cook Congratulations! Totally echo everyone’s comments and truly best teacher that I ever had!

Suzette Glessner Cunicelli Congratulations! One of my favorite teachers, I learned so much from Ms. McBrinn.

Tricia Cattani Ms. McBrinn was my Latin teacher for 4 years while at Villa! She was one of my favorite teachers and the reason I went into the medical field. Medical terms come from Latin roots. Congratulations on a well deserved honor!

Trish Seigmund Young Congratulations!! Ms. McBrinn!! Best English teacher!! But is everyone also wondering how she also looks exactly the way she did in 1982...how does she never age!!!

Sam Liney Truly legendary, congratulations Ms. McBrinn! Hands down one of the greatest teachers of all time. William Shakespeare is love, William Shakespeare is life!!

Christine Tammaro I only spent two years at Villa, but Ms, McBrinn is my favorite teacher of all time! Congrats to her and the young ladies!

Theresa Coughlin Congratulations, Ms. McBrinn!! I will never forget my classes with you in Regina Hall. Such wonderful memories!!

Mary Anne Hare Baumgart Congratulations to the students and Ms McBrinn! I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for her!

Amanda Frett Congratulations! So well deserved! I hope the essays were filled with Weekly Words and the correct etymology.

Kristin Weller-Harkness To this day, I am so incredibly grateful that I had Ms. McBrinn as a teacher! She is truly a gem! Congratulations!

Patricia McGee O'Rourke Ms. McBrinn was my favorite English teacher too! She is the reason I have an extensive vocabulary, and I teach my own math students to break down words for understanding.

Robin McLaughlin Incredibly well-deserved honor!! Congratulations, Ms. McBrinn! I taught etymology to my students and my own children for years-all because of the love of the word you instilled in me. Thank you!

Rose Kirk Dunnegan Congratulations Ms. McBrinn! So many great memories and lifelong lessons from Humanities I and II! Today's students are so fortunate to have you!

Erin Dalton She was one my favorite teachers. Opened my eyes to so much in the literary world. A big reason why I majored in English in college. Congrats Ms. McBrinn!