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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.