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School board wants Griffin as superintendent

The Demopolis board of education on Monday night unanimously voted to hire Dr. Robert A. “Al” Griffin as the next superintendent of Demopolis City Schools.

Griffin is the principal of Goshen High School and has been in education for 19 years. He graduated magna cum laude from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in education. He also earned his master’s degree and doctorate degrees from Auburn.

Griffin began his career in education as a teacher of agriscience. He served as the career technical director for Troy and Pike County school systems.

After speaking with finalists Griffin and Eddie Tyler, the assistant superintendent for supportive services for the Baldwin County School System, the board went into executive session. After coming out of executive session, the board made its vote.

Board members talked about the qualities that led them to vote for Griffin.

“For me, it was his educational background and his national board certification,” said board chair Gary Holemon. “The way he described (his certification) was that it was a nationwide best practice of standards for teaching. That was impressive.

“He goes the extra mile, in my view, in everything he does. He has a doctorate of education from Auburn, and yet he goes to the Superintendent Academy at (the University of Alabama). That’s going the extra mile. Going to the national board certification — that’s going the extra mile.”

Board member Laura Foster said that Griffin comes from a small-town background, having lived in Lineville in Clay County.

“He’s enthusiastic, he’s young and he has two children who will be enrolled in our school system,” she said. “That’s important. He’s a visionary as well. I think he’s going to be a good match.”

“He’s very curriculum-driven, and yet he has a background in (agriculture) and running tech prep,” Holemon said. “In taking Demopolis to the next level, I always thought about academics first, athletics — because those are classroom leadership — and then, the arts for the kids who may not be interested in athletics. Tech prep might be the thing that goes to the next level, and this is his background.

“He’s innovative and he’s got a lot of energy. I like his work tempo as well. I think he’s a very good match, and the business community will accept him as well.”

Interim superintendent Dr. Neil P. Hyche said the search went very well and had seven quality candidates.

“The final two were both excellent people,” he said. “One of the things about Dr. Griffin is his intense knowledge of instruction and supervision and management of personnel, along with grant writing. That’s major with him. Also, his local involvement was very big. He’s got a page of local things that he’s done in his community and another page of professional organizations.”

Griffin said he is ready to begin his job in Demopolis.

“I’m humbled at this opportunity,” Griffin said. “What I want to do is make Demopolis my home. I want to come here and work with all of the educators and the stakeholders and the board members and the community as a whole to meet the vision and goals of the Demopolis City Schools system.

“I’ve had a broad range of experience in school systems that mirror Demopolis. This is an industrious and diverse area, and I’m accustomed to that community. I look forward to being a part of it.”

Griffin and his wife, Natalie, have two children: Kristen, who is a junior in high school this year, and Gabe, who is in sixth grade. Natalie Griffin is employed by Bradford Health Services.