SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The outgoing Seminole County Public Schools superintendent is speaking out about his retirement and the controversy surrounding the search for his replacement.
Dr. Walt Griffin said he is excited to retire.
“I’m really looking forward to a full year of travel, family, friends,” Griffin said.
He will officially leave the school district on June 30 after spending the last 40 years in education. However, determining who will take on the job next recently caused controversy.
“I think what the public saw is a very tough decision for our school board,” Griffin said. “I understand and respect all that they had to go through.”
The school board originally offered the job to Lake County assistant superintendent Chad Farnsworth. They then revoked the offer and picked Seminole County school board attorney Serita Beamon to become the new superintendent.
“The incoming superintendent, Serita Beamon, has been part of my leadership team for 8 years. She knows the business,” Griffin said.
According to a community survey conducted by the district during the superintendent search, educational experience was an important quality for the next superintendent. Griffin said although Beamon doesn’t have educational experience, her experience working at the district will help her successfully do the job.
“We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I have never pretended to know every aspect,” Griffin said. “The important part of this job is building the team and Mrs. Beamon knows the team and she knows who to go to for information.”
Griffin said he was not involved in the superintendent search process.
“I stayed a mile away from it. The school board votes for the new superintendent, not the current superintendent,” Griffin said.
Griffin said he did speak to some members of the superintendent search committee which was formed to narrow it down to the top candidates.
“I had spoken to three of them, two of which called me. But I think the most difficult part is because I have mentored and worked with Mrs. Beamon for so many years people saw me with her and people know that I had been working with her for this position,” Griffin said. “But I feel that everything I did was appropriate and I’m ready for us to move on.”
News 6 asked if Beamon was Griffin’s candidate of choice.
“She was. She would have been because I prepared her for it,” Griffin said. “I never said anything negative about any of the other candidates. I don’t know the other candidates.”
Griffin said he believes the school district is already moving forward.
“I think we have a very strong board and I think the board coming together and I think the public just getting to know Mrs. Beamon and giving her the opportunity, they will see her strengths,” he said.
He adds he’s confident Beamon will successfully lead Seminole County schools.
“When you have teachers like we have and great administrators, the district is going to continue to do very, very well,” Griffin said. “The district is going to be in very, very good hands with Mrs. Beamon and I would like everyone to give her a chance to get to know her better. She is brilliant and will have a lot to bring to this organization.”
Beamon will officially take over as superintendent on July 1.
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