Retiring Seminole County superintendent reflects on 30-year career on last day of school

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Wednesday was the last day of school in Seminole County not only for students and teachers, but also the school district’s longtime superintendent.

Walt Griffin is retiring after more than three decades with the district.

READ: ‘I didn’t expect the twist and turns’: Incoming Seminole County superintendent addresses new role, hiring controversy

“Everything I’m doing, it’s the last time I’m doing it, so it is emotional,” he said.

Griffin has been with Seminole County Public Schools for 37 years as an educator and superintendent.

Looking back, Griffin said he inherited a district that was known for its great college preparatory education, but Seminole schools lacked career, technical and vocational courses.

READ: Seminole County Superintendent Walt Griffin announces retirement

“That has been my push for nine years, and I’m very proud of the progress we made seeing how many students have graduated in certifications and industry this week just shows all the work has paid off,” he said.

What he wishes he could have done more with is teacher salaries.

“I think they are unsung heroes, I think they are appreciated more now than ever because of parents being home to instruct their students,” Griffin said.

READ: Seminole County School Board votes to select Serita Beamon as next superintendent

He also regrets how the search for his replacement ended in controversy. The board first hired Chad Farnsworth of Lake County Schools, then changed their mind and hired school attorney Serita Beamon. He believes Beamon will make the district even better.

“I was hoping it would have gone a lot smoother but at the end of the day, I support our board and I think what you saw was the board doing the best they could do to make a difficult decision,” Griffin said.

READ: Former Seminole County superintendent candidate calls hiring process ‘terribly flawed’

When Griffin spoke out on educational issues, legislators in Tallahassee listened. Griffin said the district won’t lose that voice, saying such influence was never his alone, but came from the great Seminole County school district.

Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.