Mr. Mark Griffith is superintendent of Marion County Schools which consists of Jasper, Monteagle, South Pittsburg, and Whitwell Elementary Schools; Jasper and Whitwell Middle Schools; and Marion County, South Pittsburg, and Whitwell High school. He has made a career in education for the last fourteen years spending eight of those years as director of schools in Marion County. Mr. Griffith finds that the best part of being a superintendent “is helping students in the rural district which directed my [his] path through life.” Marion County Schools are currently implementing RTI and PLC at the K-12 level. This is an exciting step for the system and Mr. Griffith feels it will be beneficial because it will aid in “helping students that would have fallen through the cracks.”
When Mr. Griffith decided to take on a larger leadership role by becoming superintendent, it was because he wanted to help students in Marion County. “I wanted to make a difference as teachers from my past have made a difference in my life.” Mr. Griffith specifically mentioned his high school math teacher, Glenn Price, as a person who helped inspire and encourage him to be the person he is today. Glenn Price was also a teacher that taught him the value of hard work. Mr. Griffith was also able to find inspiration during his time as superintendent of schools in his daughter, Kennedy. “ . . . Kennedy inspired me by her courage and determination and seeing that live on through her sisters Kolbe and Hagan daily continues to inspire me. Mr. Griffith stated that he would advise a principal or teacher that hopes to take on a larger leadership role “to familiarize themselves with all state board policies and laws surrounding education. We are only one dumb mistake away from a CNN truck pulling up to broadcast a mistake.”
Education has evolved in many ways since Mr. Griffith was a student in Marion County. Some of the changes that have occurred are the state testing, graduation rate impacts, and high pressure evaluations. “I think there is less time to relax,” he shares. However, he mentions, “It is always a great time to see students enjoying this magical time of the year.” Mr. Griffith is fond of visiting each school [during the Christmas season] and feeling the family atmosphere of all of our schools.” His own favorite things about Christmas growing up were opening presents and spending time with family. As an adult enjoys traditions such as going to “church services on Christmas and coming back watching the kids open gifts.” Best Christmas gift he ever received? “I remember a 20 gauge shotgun from my grandfather.” Mr. Griffith still enjoys such hobbies as hunting and fishing today.
Mr. Griffith shared a few of his favorite things. His favorite subject growing up was History. His favorite sports team is the Tennessee Vols “and whoever is playing Alabama!” Favorite thing to do when it snows? “Spend time with my daughters, play in the snow, and have a big bowl of chili.”
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt, favorite quote that inspires