New Principal Shows Leadership Skills During COVID-19

Candice Griffin
Highlands Elementary School Principal Candice Griffin

(CEDAR HILL, TX) Candice Griffin is calm and confident in her leadership ability.

Anyone who decided to become a first-time principal for the first time during a Pandemic would have to be.

“My weekly message to teachers is manage expectations, set expectations and teach expectations,” said Griffin, the new principal at Highlands Elementary School. “We want to have the same focus when scholars come back. We have clear expectations for safety, and we’re teaching what the expectations are. Everyone knows how to execute the expectations well.”

Griffin arrived at Highlands this summer after working as an assistant principal for an elementary campus in another Best Southwest district.

Griffin said the first week of virtual learning went well, through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. She is confident that scholars will feel connected with the staff when they return for in-person classes.

The daily live announcements have been one way of ensuring that interaction.

She expects about 20 percent of the scholars return for in-person when that option becomes available on Tuesday, October 6.

What’s Her Biggest Challenge?

Griffin, who has a Master’s Degree from Dallas Baptist University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida A&M University, said one of the most challenging aspects of the role is not being able to interact with scholars in person.

“I love interacting with the scholars,” Griffin said. “But we are continuing relationships with scholars and families even though we’re virtual.”

Griffin credits her staff with working alongside parents to assist with connectivity and technical issues, related to getting online.

“People are comfortable with virtual learning for the most part,” Griffin said. “And the staff has a positive attitude.”

Griffin said the experience has helped her grow as a leader.

“It’s pushed my thinking, and we’ve been able to get outside the box of what traditional learning looks like,” Griffin said. “We’re figuring out how to support and serve families in this very different situation.”