Throughout the more than twenty-year history of ResponsiveEd, few campus leaders can claim a connection to the organization’s major milestones like Michael Griffin. The Amarillo Collegiate Academy Campus Director was one of the first directors of a Premier High School, piloted the first elementary school in the network, and has led the first K-12 campus since 2008. Griffin recently reflected on his more than 40 years of experience in education and how he made the difficult decision to leave the private school setting for a charter school startup.
It was 1999 and Michael Griffin was a veteran principal with 22 years of experience in private education. He was a dedicated administrator and was prepared to finish his career in a private school setting. Until he met ResponsiveEd CEO, Chuck Cook.
“I met Mr. Cook, and he kept telling me to take a look at what ResponsiveEd was building,” he said. “I reluctantly went to a meeting, heard more about how they were helping students, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
Griffin accepted the director role at what is now Premier High School – Lubbock. The role allowed Mr. Griffin to be innovative and responsive to student needs. The entrepreneurial spirit of the organization led him to pitch the idea of an elementary school in Amarillo.
“I enjoyed working in the high school environment but I felt we had an opportunity to serve more students,” Griffin recalled. “After receiving board approval we opened the first elementary school in 2007 with 13 students. Since then we have grown into a K-12, graduated seven classes of graduates, and our program led to the creation of new educational options at ResponsiveEd.”
The influence of Amarillo Collegiate Academy can be felt at nearly every member of the ResponsiveEd family of schools. Quest Collegiate Academies and iSchool High Schools are two of the most visible examples. Founders Classical Academies have followed a similar operational path, and Classical Academies were not an option until Mr. Griffin tried something new in Amarillo.
Forty years in education may seem like a long time but Mr. Griffin’s enthusiasm for the job has not waivered. When asked about his future plans he concluded, “I am closer to the end of my career but I’m not at the end yet.”
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