7 Questions with… Vanita Wilson, MA, LPCCounselor, Genesee Intermediate School District


In January, the Michigan Association for Career and Technical Education named Vanita Wilson, MA, LPC Counseling & Career Professional of the Year. She was honored for her outstanding work as the counselor overseeing 1,800 students at Genesee Career Institute (GCI). A member of the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) staff since 2016, Vanita earned a Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling at Spring Arbor University and received a Bachelor’s of Social Work from the University of Michigan – Flint.

Announcing the award, the GISD cited Vanita’s heartfelt dedication to the well-being of each student and how her deep connections with them have fostered a supportive educational community. In addition, they recognized her compassion, personalized guidance, commitment to holistic development and tireless advocacy for access and equity. She is also credited with shaping the GCI curriculum, spearheading strategic partnerships for new programs and advancing career exploration and development initiatives.

My City enjoys highlighting influential figures in the community and we are happy that Vanita agreed to answer our “7 Questions.” Read on to learn a bit more about her.

1. When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?

As a child, my aspirations were centered around my love for reading and writing. I spent countless hours crafting my own short stories, firmly believing that I would grow up to be an author and write books. In case that path didn’t unfold, my backup plan was to become a teacher.

2. Where is the coolest place you’ve traveled to?

My husband and I have a great love for the ocean and spend most every vacation there. The ocean brings me so much peace. I would say the coolest place I have traveled to New York City. We visited the National September 11 Memorial and it was overwhelming. One moment we were in this place of momentous significance and the next block was bright lights and chaos. I loved seeing the tourists navigate the city.

3. What skill would you most like to learn?

I would love to learn to arrange flowers and do this in retirement. (I have told the GCI Ag Science teacher this so many times.) I think it would be so much fun to create beauty.

4. What does your average weekend look like?

On Friday nights, our almost two-year-old grandson comes for a sleepover. We order takeout and spend our night with him playing and watching him learn and grow. We have done this most every Friday since he was a few months old. We take him out to breakfast on Saturday and he usually goes home that afternoon. We try to make time for friends and family; Sunday includes church and often impromptu family dinners with our kids.

5. If you had a “warning” label, what would it say?

It would say, “WARNING: She is a lot.”

6. What do you enjoy most about your career?

The students are the best part of every day. Relationships are everything. When you have taken the time to build a relationship with a student and/or family, it opens up the opportunity to mentor and guide from a place of trust. I spent 14 years in one district and was able to know families so well. I have had the privilege of watching students become adults and build their lives and careers.

7. What advice would you give to your younger self?

  • Everything happens in its time.
  • Celebrate every moment when your family is young and the work is overwhelming.
  • Enjoy the journey even when it is a struggle, because it goes so fast.
  • Even when life circumstances are hard, there is so much learning that will happen there.
  • You won’t always feel happy but you can always choose joy.
  • You will never be sorry for loving others with a big, open heart.

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