OSWEGO - A new year has brought new opportunities and a new principal to Leighton Elementary School.
Staff members recently hosted a welcome back assembly for students to re-energize them for 2020, inspire greatness and introduce Stephanie Griffin as the new building principal. Emceed by third-grade teacher Michelle McManus, the assembly united all grade levels and reminded them that collectively they are a family. The new year, McManus said, is a time for reflection and growth, as she encouraged students to think about their goals and how they can make a difference at Leighton.
“Every person here cares about you,” she said.
Together, the students and staff members recited the pledge of allegiance and the Buc pledge, which centers on being kind, respectful, responsible and having self-control. Enhancing that rich, positive school culture is something each student and staff member can embrace, McManus said.
Proud to be Leighton’s newest Buccaneer, Principal Griffin said she felt welcomed and at home with her new Leighton family. She was introduced by Oswego City School District Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey, who told the audience that Principal Griffin was once his students as she obtained her degrees at SUNY Oswego. Also, in attendance were Oswego City School District (OCSD) Board of Education (BOE) members Samuel Tripp, Tom Ciappa and BOE President Heather DelConte, as well as OCSD administrators.
The Leighton family then repeated positive affirmations of their importance, kindness, intelligence, strength, capabilities, love, friendship and aspirations. Principal Griffin said the assembly was a great way to begin her first day on the job. She most recently was employed as assistant principal at Fairley Elementary School in Hannibal but has worked in the education field since 2004. From an elementary classroom teacher to an instructional coach and administrator, Principal Griffin has enjoyed learning how she can best help students with each position held.
“Every kid can learn; it’s our responsibility to find out the best way they learn,” she said. “I’m always trying to learn a little bit more; I’m always looking for a better way.”
She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SUNY Oswego before she earned a certificate of advanced studies, also from SUNY Oswego. She delved into the educational field after a career in accounting and business. Upon volunteering at her children’s school when they were younger, Principal Griffin said she realized the impact she could have on children in a more fulfilling career.
Throughout the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, she said a top goal is to foster and grow relationships with students and staff members. In her first week, she visited each classroom and read “The Principal from the Black Lagoon” to help further strengthen the Leighton community.
A lover of literacy, she said her favorite children’s book is “Charlotte’s Web,” and has enjoyed historical fiction and any book to help expand her knowledge of education. Principal Griffin has a husband, two grown children in college and a grand-puppy named Abby. In her spare time, she has enjoyed an active, outdoor lifestyle.