Coleman Elementary fifth-grade teacher Dea Griffith is being sent to the assistant principal’s office — in her first assignment as a school administrator.
The 18-year teaching veteran was approved for her new position at CISD’s July 20 school board meeting. She is ideal for the job, said Coleman Counselor Valerie Patterson, who first worked with Griffith when they were on faculty at Cleburne Intermediate School.
“Dea has a heart for kids and wants to see them reach their potential,” Patterson said. “I’ve seen her show compassion with students who needed that extra support emotionally and academically.
“She will also be a wonderful leader for our teachers, as she has developed relationships with the Coleman staff as a co-worker and teammate.
“I’m proud of her desire to continue her pursuit of learning. She’s bringing all that expertise from the different grade levels she has taught to her new job as a campus administrator.”
Griffith began her teaching career in 2002 at Cleburne Intermediate, which at that time served the district’s fifth- and sixth-graders. That was followed by two years, 2005-07, at Wheat Middle School.
Griffith also served five years in the classroom at Smith Middle School, followed by three years as a certified tutor at Smith.
In 2015, she made the move to Cleburne High School, which included three years teaching in the Human Services career cluster within the Career and Technical Education program. She had her first experience in administration when she served as secondary summer school principal in 2019.
“When Dea was finishing up her master’s degree in administration, she told me she wanted to have that elementary experience to add to what she had learned as an intermediate, middle and high school teacher, including the academic and CTE programs at CHS,” CTE Director Mark McClure said. “She has done a great job at Coleman this year. Dea is a hard worker and will be successful no matter where she’s at.
“I’m happy that she has this new opportunity in moving to the next level in her work with students, which is something she has dreamed of.
“She’s in it for the kids. She organized coat drives at the high school involving our various CTE student organizations because she wanted to be sure any kid in the school district who needed a coat had one. That’s how she is. She wants to help kids.”
Griffith’s dedication to her students and their education was recognized in 2008, when the Smith MS staff honored her as their campus Teacher of the Year. She went on to be named the CISD Secondary Teacher of the Year.
Will Barnes, who was recently named the new principal at Coleman, is excited to be working with Griffith in what will be new roles for both of them.
Barnes and Griffith were fellow faculty members at CHS. Griffith is filling the vacancy of former Coleman AP Alyce Bell, who is now a member of the high school’s administrative team.
“There is no question that Dea will be a perfect fit as our assistant principal,” Barnes said. “She brings enthusiasm and excitement to the job every day. She was already a member of the Coleman family as a teacher, and we are all genuinely delighted to see her in this new role. Everyone at our campus is excited to have her as the new AP.”
Griffith is a 2002 graduate of Southwestern Adventist University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in education. She was awarded a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership in 2019 from Tarleton State University.
Also approved for employment at Monday’s school board meeting were Samantha Corder, science teacher — Wheat; Tammy Howe, PE teacher — Wheat; Lynzie Moore, seventh-grade teacher/coach — Smith; Jose Salazar, special education teacher/boys head soccer coach — CHS; and Layne Yates, English teacher — CHS.