By Denise DuBois
Say the name Brindlea Griffin throughout the community. There are not many people who wouldn’t know who you’re talking about. Griffin has been part of the community since 1970 when her family moved to the area. But more importantly, she has worked in the Phenix City School System since 1993 and has been advocating for the system ever since. She retires this month after 25 years.
“It’s been a blessing to work for Phenix City Schools,” Griffin said. “As summer approached, I realized I had 25 years in. I love the people I work with. This is just one milestone into the next chapter of my life. It’s a milestone to the next adventure. There are many opportunities in Alabama and Georgia, but I’m in no rush. I’m going to focus on family for a little bit and see God’s provision in my life. I think God places you where you need to be.”
That placement began in 1993 when Griffin started her career with Phenix City Schools. She worked at South Girard, teaching what was known as home economics.
“It was a wonderful experience. I love South Girard. It was a wonderful school to get started in,” she said.
She also taught math and reading at another school and had some children at the alternative school before leaving the school system in 1994. In 1995, Griffin worked for the University of Georgia as the 4H agent. For three and a half years, she bled green.
“It was a buys and fun time. I grew up in Alabama 4H. My mother was the county extension director. I won state and national in breads for cooking,” Griffin recalled. It was a great fit. But when Phenix City Schools called her in 1998, it was time for her to come back to the place she called home. It was in 2006 that she transferred from teacher to central office staff. At this time, she has earned her masters degree and was working on her doctorate degree. Because she had proper certifications, Griffin became the Child Nutrition Director. Little did she know, the department was in trouble. It owed half a million dollars to general fund, had three lawsuits for racial animosity and had pilferage. The federal government had also released new guidelines for nutrition: no fat, no fried.
“I was given a directive by Dr. (Larry) DiChiara and he was very supportive,” she said. It wasn’t long before the department was in order. It was even recognized by Michelle Obama in 2011.
In 2013, Griffin got the opportunity to do what she does best: network. She took over Health Services and Community Education.
“Both of my parents were public servants in their careers. They taught me to be involved in where you live. I don’t know anything else. That’s my personality,” Griffin said.
The Community Education portion allowed her to be associated with 28 boards and organizations in the community promoting the school system. It also gave her the opportunity to learn about the nursing side of health services.
“They heal and make the day great,” she said. “The school day would not be as positive without health services and child nutrition.”
Throughout her tenure with the school system, Griffin has been able to mentor those around her and serve. She has the opportunity to be on the Alabama School Nutrition Association Board and was president of that board. Currently, she serves on the Chattahoochee Valley Community College Foundation and is on the East Alabama Chamber of Commerce executive board. She and her family attend Trinity United Methodist Church and are active there.
Griffin leaves a family that she has come to love throughout her time in the school system.
“They have been a family to me and my family. They have supported me and I try to support them. There are many people who came before me and trained and guided me. I remember them well,” Griffin said.