Griffin Middle School

    Empowering All Students to Pursue Their Dreams

Paul Gillihan, Principal

Tracy Efaw AP-6  | Sheleta Young, AP-7  | Dr. Candace English, AP-8  | Kacie Phipps, SLI | Kizzy Jackson, SSA

4010 King Springs Rd. | Smyrna, GA  30082
Office: (678) 842-6917 | Fax: (678) 842-6919
Registration/Records Fax: (678) 842-6924

Griffin Middle School
Administration


Mr. Paul Gillihan, Principal

Education
I was the first person to atttend college on both sides of my family. I initially attended the University of Arkansas (go Hawgs!) before transferring to Harding University in Searcy, AR, where I obtained my Bachelor's Degree in Ministry. I then graduated from William Carey College in Hattiesburge, MS, where I received my Master's in Educational Leadership. I earned my Specialist in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University.

Professional Life
I entered education as a substitute teacher in Amite, LA, while working as a minister at a small local church. I then decided teaching was for me and began my career as a teacher in Louisiana before moving to Mississippi where I taught and coached girl's softball and boy's basketball. I took a position at Meridian Community College, MS, where I taught Adult Education before relocating to Cobb County in 2006. I just finished my tenth year with Cobb where I have worked at Campbell High School, Pebblebrook High School, McEachern High School, and now as principal at Griffin Middle School.

Personal Life
I am the youngest of three children. My older brother was severally handicapped and passed away when I was in my early twenties. My Mother, sister, and her family still live in North Arkansas where I grew up. I love sports, especially basektball and softball. I have run two marathons, both Memphis and Chicago, and I would love to run a half-marathon in the future. I enjoy time with my family and friends, playing board games and traveling. At one time, I sang in a gospel quartet in Arkansas, and I still enjoy singing in the car and shower.

Educational Philosophy
I believe that all students can learn if provided the right tools, at the right time, with the right motivation. I strongly believe that students want to learn and be successful, but sometimes come to us lacking the skills needed, which means we must equip them for success. My main goal as a principal at Griffin is to ensure that all students, faculty and staff grow as continual lifelong learners.

Contact Mr. Gillihan via Email


Ms. Tracy Efaw, Assistant Principal, 6th Grade

Education
I earned my Bachelor's of Science Degree from Sam Houston University and my Master's in Education Degree from Kennesaw State University. My Specialist in Educational Leadership is earned from Berry College. While a college student, I was a music major in band, and in my undergraduate experience, I studied abroad for a semester in Puebla, Mexico.

Professional Life

I started my teaching career in 1999 in a small district in Texas. My first teaching position was as a long-term substitute teacher at an alternative school. I loved it and continued as a teacher of record from that point on, until 2012, when I became an academic coach. I coached for three years learning so very much along the way. I was privileged to visit many classrooms and see a great deal of cutting edge and exceptional teaching at Griffin Middle School. Last  year, I was promoted to Assistant Principat at Griffin, and I have loved every minute of it! With every job, there is something new to learn and new challenges with which to apply creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in efforts to build a greater Griffin!

Personal Life

I have been married for ten years to the most amazing husband in the world. We enjoy our three fur babies, Bruce, Pearl, and Zentangle. We love spending time in the North Georgia mountains whenever we get a chance. We also like to travel internationally quite a bit. My husband, Clark, fights poverty by being a humanitarian aide worker for CARE, USA, and I fight poverty of a different kind by working to instill the value of education in all the students I have the honor of working with everyday. I enjoy cycling, cooking, gardening, reading, Indian food, and being a lifelong learner.

Educational Philosophy

My goal as a Griffin administrator is to always be available for my students and teachers as a guide, a positive influence, an encourager, and a supporter. In business, the primary goal should always be to serve the customer. Education is no different. My customers are students and teachers! My philosophy is to be of service as best I can, to improve and increase academic achievement. I have always thought of education as a higher callling, and I am grateful to get to be a part of something bigger--like a tile in the mosaic of life!

Contact Ms. Efaw via Email


Ms. Sheleta Young, Assistant Principal, 7th Grade

Education

Professional Life

Personal Life

Educational Philosophy

Contact Ms. Young via Email


Dr. Candace English, Assistant Principal, 8th Grade

Education
I earned my Bachelor's Degree in 1990 from the University of Georgia with a major in drama and minor in math and science. From there, I earned a Master's in Educational Administration in 1992 and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration in 2000 from Georgia State University. As a college student, I participated in the University of Georgia and Georgia State University drama departments. I was a member and choreographer for UGA Dance Company and managed theater for UGA Drama Department. I taught Drama 300, an introductory course to freshmen at University of Georgia. I was also a member of the Air Force ROTC at UGA and a DJ at WRAS Radio at Georgia State University.

Professional Life
From 1990 to 1999, I was an English, Drama, and Mythology teacher at Pebblebrook High School, where I earned Teacher of the Year in 1998 and served as a mentor of several first year teachers. In addition, I was a Committee of 100 teacher representative for a Cobb County assistant principal. I have been at Griffin Middle School from 1999 to the present as an administrator in all three grade levels. Other responsibilities I have had include testing coordinator, school safety coordinator, America's Choice administrator, PBIS coordinator, and I have developed an advisement program and participated in student led conferences which have been the models of other programs in Cobb and the state. I am an Adjunct Professor at Kennesaw State University for teaching Education Specialist candidates. Additionally, I have presented at various conferences across Georgia and the nation including Judge Educator's Rising Conference (high school competetion), 2016 Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) presenter in Boston, and 2016 Winter Conference for Milestone Data. 

Personal Life
I have been married to Barry English, an insurance underwriter since 1997. I have a son, David, who is a graduate of Georgia Technical University with high honors in Economics. He is currently employed as a risk management and statistician at a local industrial firm. We have six pets, including three cats named, Lord Sterling, Gracie and Tumbleweed and three dogs named, Max, Dr. Chili Pepper and Lady Belle Pepper. I have a special affinity for dachsunds and squirrels. My hobbies are hiking, gardening, reading, and being a divergent thinker (thinking out-of-the-box! Nothing is impossible!

Educational Philosophy
My philosophy as an educator is that all of us are born with a purpose in life. It is up to us as educators to help children and adults discover and develop their unique gifts so that we can work together to make the world a better place!

Contact Dr. English via Email


Ms. Kizzy Jackson, Special Services Administrator

Education

Professional Life

Personal Life

Educational Philosophy

Contact Ms. Jackson via Email


Ms. Kacie Phipps, School Leadership Intern (SLI)

Education
I attended Agnes Scott College and received a Bachelor's in Political Science and Sociology in May 2000. I also attended Kennesaw State University and received a Master's in Educational Leadership in May 2005. Most recently, I have attended Berry College, recieving a Educational Leadership Specialist Degree in May 2016. As a college student, I have been a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Professional Life
I am starting my seventeenth year at Griffin Middle School, where I have taught for fifteen years, and I was an Academic Coach for Social Studies and Language Arts for one year. I have also been the Advanced Learning Program (ALP) Lead Teacher for thirteen years. I am excited to begin my first year in administration as a School Leadership Intern (SLI) at Griffin Middle School for the 2016-2017 school year.

Personal Life
I have been married for twelve years, and I have two sons. I enjoy traveling, dancing, and I am active in my church. I also enjoy running, swimming, cycling and participating in triathlons.

Educational Philosophy
I believe that all students have gifts and the ability to learn if given the tools to be successful. As educators, it is our task to help students develop their gifts and their potential to be lifelong learners who are beneficial members of society.

Contact Ms. Phipps via Email


Mr. Richard White, ISS/Teacher Leader

Education
I grew up in one of the poorest counties in Georgia, but we had exceptional teachers and this inspired me to learn and to teach. I received a B.A. in History with a minor in Psychology from West Georgia College in 1992. I returned to school in 1997 and received a B.S. in Sociology focusing on Criminology and a B.A. in Psychology from the State University of West Georgia in 2000. In 2006 I returned to the University of West Georgia and began working on my teacher certification program, this is also the year that I started working for the Cobb County School District. While working on my certification I was a substitute teacher, paraprofessional, and ISS teacher, and completed work on my M.Ed. in Educational Psychology focusing on Education of the Gifted, Talented, and Creative at the University of Georgia. I also completed my Ed.S. in Media focusing on Instructional Technology at the University of West Georgia. I attended many workshops and conferences to help enhance my subject area and teaching skills.

Professional Life

I have always been a teacher. In every job that I have ever had, I ended up training new people to do that job. I started as a substitute teacher in Cobb County in April of 2007 and worked as a substitute for the 2008 school year. In 2009, I received my first teaching job as the ISS teacher at Campbell Middle School, and during the 2010 school year served as a deaf and hard of hearing paraprofessional at Pine Mountain Middle School. In 2011, I moved to Barber Middle School as an emotional and behavioral disorders paraprofessional and in January took over as the primary teacher while completing my student teaching. In 2012, I came to Griffin Middle School as the ISS teacher and will be starting my 6th year here next year. I have taught ISS, Earth Science, and A/C Earth Science. Teaching is my passion, as is science, and I look forward to sharing this passion with our teachers and students.


Personal Life

In my personal life, I am quite a private person. I have been married to my wife Kimberly for 17 years (this September, and we have been together for 20 years this year!). I have a beautiful 10 year old daughter named Kaci, and she is the reason that I committed to public education. I was born and raised in Heard County near the City of Franklin, Georgia. We moved to Dallas, GA in 2004 and my mother and sister soon joined us in the area. I have one younger sister who teaches communication classes at Kennesaw State University and is 14 years younger than me. My mother is retired from the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services and spends a lot of time with our family and my sister. In my free time, I attend rock and mineral shows, volunteer at the Cobb Gem and Mineral Society and the Georgia Mineral Society, attend professional development workshops and conferences, and go on rock digs with my family.

Educational Philosophy

I believe that all students have the ability to learn and excel, and in the changing world of education we have to make sure that they are placed in the right environment for that to take place. I believe that all students should have access to all available tools and materials for learning, and that their learning should not be limited by income or anything else. I believe that good discipline leads to safe and comfortable learning environments, and this leads to higher achievements. Set high goals for students and help them attain them!

Contact Mr. White via Email