Dr. Jane Griffin Chalks Up 53 Years in Education!

By Bob Holeman 

At the May 23 reception honoring her retirement, she was called “The Number One advocate of Winnfield Senior High School.”  Dr. Jane Griffin has logged an incredible 53 years in the field of education, 26 of those as principal of WSHS.

“I appreciate so much, I was humbled, that so many people attended, with all those memories.  It was an affirmation that what you did actually made a difference,” she tells the Journal.

Griffin and several others still here in the community had the distinction of graduating in the first class (1967) that had gone all three of their years in the newly consolidated and constructed WSHS.  At that time, only grades 10 through 12 were “high school” and the classes finishing in 1965 and 1966 began their studies at the old Winnfield High School.

She headed to NSU to major in home economics but quickly changed to math, “where I really needed to be,” she admits.  Meanwhile Ronald Griffin, a friend throughout their school years, had joined the Marines, was sent to Vietnam and seriously wounded during the Tet Offensive of 1968.  Brought back to Memphis for treatment and rehab, he found time to visit home and marry Jane in April that same year.  He was later shipped to California as a machine gun instructor.

Jane hurried her studies to catch up with him and received her degree in two and a half years, in January 1970.  She traveled to California to be with her husband but was unable to get a teaching job as the state prepared for an influx of returning soldiers.  The couple returned home later that year and had no trouble finding work.  “We rolled into Mom’s house on a Monday morning and I started work on Tuesday at LaSalle for 1970-71.”

A court order blocking Winn students’ attendance at Montgomery brought a sudden growth of Atlanta High’s numbers and some makeshift construction saw Jane Griffin teaching in a 16×20 plywood room in the middle of the auditorium.  Ensuing construction improved the situation and the educator remained there through 1982, taking a year off to secure her doctorate in 1979.

“I was transferred to WSHS where I taught math and Algebra 2, then later added geometry, calculus and trigonometry,” she says of the start of her years at the school where she’d spend the majority of her career.  “Principal Jerry Bamburg asked me to be assistant principal in the fall of 1995.  In January that same school year, he retired and I was named principal.”  She’s remained at the helm since.

This veteran educator has seen major changes through her 53 years.  Changes in students, in parents, in new teachers, in curricula, in certification requirements.  “But the students and parents are still wonderful.”  And while salaries have increased over the decades, those increases have not kept pace with increases in other fields.  “Anyone who stays in education does so through commitment.”

“I’ve enjoyed my career,” she concludes.  “With my various positions, I’ve had the opportunity to do special things, to travel.  My family and the administration have been supportive and I’ve been able to network with so many people across the country.  It’s been very rewarding.”


During May 23 reception, Dr. Jane Griffin visits with NSU president Dr. Marcus Jones who is a product of WSHS education.  With them are Dr. Wiley Cole, B.R. Audirsch and Judge Jacque Derr.