S’ville chief formulates new plans

Brenna Swift, The Union Democrat /

Summerville Union High School District's incoming superintendent, Robert Griffith, is holding off on suggesting changes to the school until he's met with every employee there.

Griffith presented a draft "transition plan" to Summerville High's Board of Education Wednesday and said he's already met with many of the district's 84 employees.

"I want to come in and completely take the temperature and barometer in the district through everyone's particular perspective before I say we're going to do this or that," Griffith said in an interview Thursday.

The board hired Griffith to replace John Keiter, who is retiring June 30 after 10 years as superintendent of Summerville. Unlike Keiter, Griffith will work full-time at Summerville rather than spending part of his time at Twain Harte-Long Barn Union School District.

Griffith has spent the past several years as principal of the two-campus Central High School in Fresno, where he lists among his accomplishments starting a mentorship program and helping close the achievement gap for students with disabilities.

He said his school district has a successful "Character Counts" program, a curriculum designed in part to cut down on bullying.

Summerville staff attended training for "Character Counts" this year and are beginning to use it in their classrooms. They frequently cite it at board meetings as a major project and a partial answer to parent concerns about bullying.

Griffith said it's too early to say whether he'll add any other programs to Summerville.

"Overall, I think what everyone would agree with is that we could always become better," he said. "We want to become aworld-class school and district. If we're not there, what can we do to get there?"

Also on Wednesday, board members heard an update on the school district's $8 million bond measure. So far the district has sold $4.1 million in bonds, which will cost taxpayers $11.2 million by the time they're paid off in 2042.

The district is defining the scope of work to be done on the football field, which will get artificial turf, and other athletic facilities.Contractors will then compete for the job, Keiter said. The district is also planning a new art classroom and technology upgrades.

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The Union Democrat
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