Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Retiree returns to education as CHS interim principal
After 34 years in education, Fredericksburg’s Richard “Soup” Griffin retired with the goal of fishing in mind.
But just six months after the Mayfield man retired from the Fairfax County School System in August, the education bug bit him again – this time in Caroline County.
“I had no idea that I would be sitting in this chair today as principal of Caroline High School,” he said.
Griffin was hired Feb. 27 as Interim principal of the high school after B. Harper Donahoe submitted his resignation. Donahoe said he resigned to take care of his ill wife.
Although Donahoe’s resignation is effective June 30, Griffin will serve in his place for the next four months until the end of the school year.
In the week and one day that he has been interim principal, Griffin has met with all of the faculty and with the senior class letting them know his goals and his expectations.
He listened to theirs, too, and plans to fulfill some of their wishes during his short time there.
One of those goals is to raise school spirit.
The main promise is to have a pep rally for the students, something they told him they hadn’t had and needed to increase student morale. He’s also working on other end-of-year student activities to help with that.
“I’m a firm believer that if kids do what you ask them to do, we need to reward them,” he said. “And it’s my job to make sure all of the teachers have all the tools they need to take every kid and help them reach their highest potential.”
Sophomore Jamal Moore, who had been one of many students and teachers who supported Donahoe being reinstated, said after meeting Griffin he welcomes him to the school.
“I can tell he is a good person and that he wants all of us to succeed,” Moore said. “We need some good leadership in this school and he seems to have the leadership that we need.”
Griffin is no stranger to school administration.
Griffin graduated from James Monroe High School in 1969 and later taught there as a physical education teacher and assistant football coach.
Griffin later became the assistant principal at James Monroe from 1980 to 1987 and was the first principal of Walker-Grant Middle School from 1987 to 1991.
He then moved to West Springfield High School in Fairfax, where he served 21 years as an assistant principal.
He has a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Norfolk State University and a master’s degree in education supervision and administration from the University of Virginia.
He is a widower and has two adult children.
He said he is excited to be back in education.
“Every school is a challenge and I look forward to the challenge that’s ahead,” he said. “The most important thing is that we keep our attention and focus on the kids.”