SANFORD, Fla. – Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Walt Griffin will retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year, he announced Friday via YouTube.
[WATCH FULL VIDEO STATEMENT FROM Dr. Walt Griffin BELOW]
Griffin, a one-time teacher and Florida Principal of the year in 2003, was appointed as superintendent in 2012, part of his 40 years as an educator.
In the video, Griffin said he wanted to send a personal message.
“I have informed the board that I would like to retire the spring of 2021 in conjunction with my 62nd birthday,” Griffin said. “I was hoping to announce this past spring when I turned 61, but then COVID hit.”
“He has always put other people first, so for him to delay his retirement announcement for a year is in true fashion of what Dr. Griffin has done for Seminole County,” said Vice Chair of the school board Amy Pennock.
This year marks Dr. Griffin’s 40th year in education, 37 of those in Seminole County serving as an educator and administrator.
“I’m retiring to enjoy my family. I’m not seeking a larger district or a different job. I will miss you, the wonderful people of this organization, more than anything,” said Dr. Griffin in the video.
School Board members said his focus was on education equality.
“The importance to me was his focus on decreasing the gap of inequities and making sure all students had the same access to all education opportunities,” said Pennock.
“Dr. Griffin has such passion and compassion for always doing what’s right for every single student. Even the students who don’t have the loudest voice, or don’t have a lot of family or community support, he makes sure no one is left behind,” said Dr. Tina Calderone, a Seminole County School Board Member.
Dr. Griffin will be stepping down with no “D” or “F” schools in the district. His accomplishments including more vocational education programs and a nearly 93% graduation rate, the highest in Seminole County’s History.
As far as finding a new superintendent to take his seat. School board members said it won’t be easy.
“It’s going to be hard to find someone to fill his shoes. He has transparency and excellent communication skills. He’s been in the classroom like I have, and he has walked the walk and does the talk and he is amazing,” said School Board Member, Abby Sanchez.
“I think it’s important to build on the legacy he set us off on. We’ll be listening to the community, form committees to look for traits we feel with bring us to the next level,” said Dr. Calderone.
Board members said during their next meeting, they will form a search committee to start looking for the district’s new superintendent.
Griffin and his wife, Lori, have been married over 30 years. They have two married children, one granddaughter and two grandsons.
Last year, Griffin was named CTE Superintendent of the Year by the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education.
“Let’s continue to make this, the most unusual of years, the best year,” he said.