7 Questions with Kelvin Griffin
Name: Kelvin Griffin
Current title: Principal/Interim Head of School
Current organisation: Arlington Christian School
Dr. Griffin is an educator with over 22 years of professional experience. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics Education from Clark Atlanta University, a Master's and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Mercer University, and holds a certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of West Georgia.
He is an expert and lecturer in the emerging science of soft skills and their importance in shaping the educational environment for students in all levels of K-12.
Dr. Griffin has a reputation for developing thriving learning atmospheres through implementing best practices in teacher advocacy, proactive parental communication, leadership development, and the incorporation of wrap-around services that meet student needs outside the classroom to ensure student success within the classroom.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
What I have found most challenging as a Christian school leader is hiring qualified teachers who have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ and who have credentials to teach.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My day starts with prayer, reading, and meditation.
The very first class of the instructional day is the Bible. I choose a grade level and/or class to attend Bible study for the day.
On Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays after Bible I visit classrooms all day, check emails between class visits, and fraternize with students.
On Tuesdays and Thursday after the Bible I attend scheduled meetings, make contact with business partners, phone calls, emails, sign checks, etc. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days I handle school business.
After-school, I attend games or competitions - depending upon the seasons. Each day before going to bed, I answer the following question: "what am I thankful for today?"
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most significant leadership lesson I have learned is that leadership always starts with me. Leadership is not about leading thousands. It is about leading yourself well. Because if I can lead myself well it will be very easy to lead others well.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Transformed by Remi Adeleke. Remi Adeleke is a Navy Seal. The book is about defying all odds. In the book, Adeleke talks about his journey as a Navy Seal. What was interesting about his journey was the number of failures he experienced in trying to reach his goal. His story impacted my leadership significantly such that it liberated me from trying to be perfect. Better yet, it changed my perspective on failure. Oftentimes, people share the end goals of their journey but hide the obstacles, failures, and challenges along the way. People are inspired by our successes; people are more inspired by our challenges, because it makes us human.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
I've learned that millennials and generation Zers focus more on relationships than money. As a leader, it is incumbent upon me to be the type of leader that can influence and lead people with a pure heart. Leadership and servitude go hand in hand. My teachers stay because they know I genuinely care about their success and growth in our organization.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
People can sniff a phony a mile away. People will always admire a leader's strength but relate to your weaknesses. I remind my teachers every day that I am imperfect, but everyday I operate within the sphere of excellence. That is, I do the very best I can with what I have.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
I hired a Coach with a less than desirable background check. I decided to hire this Coach because I am a firm believer that people can change and that our past mistakes do not define us. This Coach turned out to be one of our most dedicated and loyal staff members. Diamonds are produced under extreme pressure. Everyone deserves a second opportunity to get it right. As a result of this belief, our organization gained an employee that gives us her best each and everyday!