Super Steve Griffin: A Tribute

“Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet, with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and…”

Ok. So maybe I am overstating things just a bit. I confess that I’ve never actually seen Steve bend steel with his bare hands. But as someone who was foolish enough to climb into the Sumo Wrestling ring with him, I would not be at all surprised if he could.

It’s been said that the very best leaders are a bit like referees at a boxing match: the better they are, the more invisible they become. While Steve Griffin may have been front and centre each Monday morning in Laidlaw Hall, he has spent most of his time behind the scenes, working with teachers, students, and fellow administrators. (Those mighty rivers don’t just change on their own!)

A partial list of Steve’s accomplishments includes creating the weekly “Heads Up,” increasing co-educational opportunities via the ToK course with Branksome Hall, and drastically restructuring of the boarding program. Perhaps his most important legacy, though, is the energy and commitment he brought to enhancing the faculty growth and evaluation program. After all, what can be more important than helping teachers’ reach their potential? In all of these ventures, Steve has shown both vision and flexibility, and the driver for him has always been the question: “What is in the best interest of the boys?”

What’s surprising is that Steve has been able to accomplish all of this – and so much more – while also connecting with his colleagues by playing golf, basketball, cards, and tennis on a regular basis. His 5 AM pre-academic day runs are the stuff of legend. That he could handle all of this, while also forging a positive connection with 700 boys – not to mention the relationships with Elizabeth and Lily and Sophie — leaves mere mortals gasping for breath.

It came as no surprise that, after just 3 years as head of UCC’s Upper School, Steve was actively pursued by Royal St. George’s College. Their Search Committee recognized what UCC has known for 14 years: Steve is a remarkable man and a remarkable leader.


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