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BOE parts ways with superintendent earlier than expected

The Demopolis Board of Education appointed an interim superintendent Thursday after it parted ways with retiring superintendent Al Griffin a little earlier than first expected.

The board appointed Mike Costanzo to fill the empty seat until a new superintendent is hired.

“It was the end of the school year, and Mike Costanzo was ready to get on board,” said board attorney Alex Braswell. “We just felt like it was a good time to go ahead and make the transition.”

Griffin recommended Costanzo, who is a retired superintendent from Tuscaloosa, to the board. Costanzo’s first day as interim will be Tuesday, according to Braswell.

“That is an absolute great decision, and Frank will do a fine job of providing a bridge between my five years there and the newly hired person when that decision is made,” Griffin said. “He is very knowledgeable and has many years of experience as a superintendent. He’ll be able to jump right in and carry on.”

Griffin was set to retire at the end of June, but both parties agreed it would be best to go ahead and part ways.

Griffin started his five-year tenure in 2010. He had one year left on his contract, but he felt like it was time to move on to something else.

“I left a year early. I had my time in, and I had a new opportunity,” Griffin said. “I’ll be closer to my parents and my family.”

Griffin will take the reigns of headmaster at Autauga Academy starting June 1, but he will miss his time in Demopolis.

“I’m going to miss the relationships and all the teachers and the administrators. I’m also going to miss the relationship with my board and the board attorney. I’ll miss each and every one of them,” Griffin said. “I’m going to miss the friends I made in the community, and the list just goes on and on and on.”

One of the main things Griffin will miss at Demopolis is seeing the school system advance.

“I’m going to miss working on capital projects and capital improvements,” Griffin said. “I really enjoyed that, and I’m going to miss watching our technology grow with all of the upgrades we’ve made with our maintenance staff. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching improvements transpire.”

While Griffin is no longer in charge of the Demopolis City School System, he feels like they are in good hands.

“I knew that Mr. Costanzo would do a great job,” Griffin said. “I told them there was a retired superintendent in the Tuscaloosa area, and that is where they went last time, so I thought that was a good idea.”

The board is currently in the process of finding its next superintendent. The Alabama Association of School Boards held meetings last week to get feedback from the community on what they are looking for in candidates.