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Fayette schools chief to retire -- again -- after 40-year career

Russell Griggs originally stepped away in 2002

NBRW-wind29p-02

the bladeRetiring Superintendent Russell Griggs, left, received an award in 2010 from Fayette board President David Brinegar for his work with the school's wind turbines.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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FAYETTE, Ohio -- Fayette Local Schools Superintendent Russell Griggs is retiring next month, for the second time. He first retired in 2002 but came back to work when he was recruited for not just one, but four, district positions since then.

Mr. Griggs, 61, has been superintendent at many school districts, including Evergreen, Pike-Delta-York, Stryker, Swanton, and most recently, Fayette.

Mr. Griggs said this second retirement will give him more time to do a few things he hasn't been able to do.

"I think after 40 years in public service, I'm ready for Saturdays," said Mr. Griggs, who was getting ready to travel to Alaska with his wife for a two-week vacation.

Although he is retiring, he's not ruling out the possibility of taking other positions.

"I would be open to short-term, interim jobs," he said, noting, however, that his current superintendent's position in Fayette was an interim appointment that turned into a five-year job.

Mr. Griggs will have a consulting contract with Fayette Local Schools after he leaves, just for August. This contract will help him prepare the next person for the job.

"I will be available to consult and transition to bring them up to speed on different projects," he said.

Throughout his lengthy career, he said, there are two major lessons he has learned that have improved his work.

"A lot of times you can't remember what was a big deal five years ago, 10 years ago," he said, reminding administrators not to get too excited or too upset about what may or what may not happen on any particular day.

Mr. Griggs also said believing in people also helped his success.

"I've always had faith in good people. I've been blessed in the districts I've worked in. I've had good people -- good kids, good parents -- that's made it enjoyable. That's why I hung around 10 years after I retired."

Mr. Griggs' reputation also allowed him to make many friends among his colleagues.

"I have known Russ for nearly 30 years, first by reputation and then as a Fulton County colleague. He's a genuine original. They don't make them like Russ anymore," said Steve Switzer, superintendent of Pettisville Schools.

He said his colleague's personality and knowledge made him stand apart from the rest. "He calls things as he sees them and has a keen insight as to what just makes sense."

Marc Robinson, Wauseon Exempted Village School District superintendent, said Mr. Griggs was a skilled professional he could call on for advice.

"I was always able to call on him for advice whenever needed. He was always willing to share. His passion for students and for the business of education was always evident in everything he did," Mr. Robinson said. "His knowledge of the profession, along with his vast experience in multiple districts was exemplary. Trust me when I say that our profession will certainly miss him."

-- Kelly McLendon

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