Griffith named 2022 Superintendent of the Year

Talbot County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelly Griffith was named 2022 Maryland Superintendent of the Year.

EASTON — Talbot County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelly Griffith was named 2022 Maryland Superintendent of the Year by the Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland during a conference on Nov. 4.

Griffith received the honor during the Maryland Negotiating Service Conference in Ocean City. She was selected by a committee of fellow state superintendents and will now go on to represent Maryland in the 2022 National Superintendents of the Year program, according to a news release from the school district.

“I am very honored to be chosen by my fellow Maryland Superintendents to represent our state at the national level,” Griffith said in the release.

“Together we have navigated an unimaginable situation and faced daunting challenges during this past year by working collaboratively as a team,” she said.

“I am also thrilled to be able to celebrate what we have accomplished in Talbot County during my time as superintendent, none of which would have been possible without the steadfast commitment, creativity and initiative of our team of educators,” Griffith said. “Our strategic planning process has been our compass to help us navigate this past year with many successes.”

“Every individual who has worked on behalf of the children of Talbot County deserves our appreciation now more than ever. Teachers, bus drivers, administrators, custodians, and support staff, along with our very supportive Board of Education have all made essential contributions to our school district and I am proud and grateful beyond words,” she said.

To earn this honor, Griffith had to meet the criteria for selection, which included demonstrating leadership for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement, said Mary Pat Fannon, executive director of the Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland. The Talbot County Board of Education also nominated her for the honor.

“Dr. Griffith was always two steps ahead in working through the challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Delean-Botkin, president of the county’s board of education. “She had the well-being and educational needs of the children as the priority, and everything else fell into place.”

Griffith has served as the superintendent of Talbot County Public Schools since 2014 after being appointed as interim superintendent in 2013. She has been an educator for 39 years, with 34 years spent in Talbot County. She started as a teacher in the county in 1988. Since then, Griffith has served as assistant principal and principal of Easton Middle School, principal of Easton and Chapel District elementary schools, director of student programs and school improvement at Easton High School and assistant superintendent of administrative services.

While superintendent, Griffith has instituted new curricula at the elementary and secondary levels, expanded to a 1:1 student to device ratio for technology and “significantly improved” graduation and dropout rates, according to the release. She added Advanced Placement and Career and Technical Education opportunities and expanded services and staffing for social and emotional learning.

Outside of the school system, Griffith is an Easton Rotarian, serves as a member of the Talbot Family Network, Talbot Mentors, the Junior Achievement board and the Local Emergency Preparedness committee. She is also an executive board member of the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce. Griffith volunteers with the Waterfowl Festival, Meals on Wheels and Junior Achievement.

“We are honored to have Dr. Kelly Griffith represent the state of Maryland as our Superintendent of the Year,” said Dr. Patricia Saelens, president of PSSAM. “This is a well deserved honor, after many years of dedication and advocacy on behalf of the students of Maryland.”

Despite praise from fellow educators, some parents in the district publicly criticized the selection on various Facebook pages.

Following their disapproval of her handling the start of the school year with COVID protocols, a recent incident at Easton Elementary School involving a child bringing a knife to school, as well as Griffith and her colleagues’ not wearing masks at the ceremony where Griffith was given this honor, concerned parents and community members took to social media platforms to express their dismay with Griffith receiving the award.

A congratulatory post from TCPS on the official Talbot County Public Schools Facebook page was taken down shortly after being posted Friday morning, Nov. 5. The Facebook page also added a new disclaimer stating the school district’s responsibility to remove information posted on the site that “contains profane or threatening language, violates privacy rights of others or undermines the mission of the school system.”

The Facebook page administrators added they would delete unkind comments directed at specific individuals or groups, comments unrelated to a post’s topic or posts containing profanity, inaccurate or misleading information.

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