Meet Mrs. Griffin

Sydney Lackey

Bravo, Mrs. Griffin deserves a standing ovation for being an outstanding teacher! Mrs. Griffin, the orchestra teacher for GWHS and both Bonner and Westwood middle schools, has been serving in this capacity for the past 11 years. Before being named as orchestra director, she was employed as a music teacher for five years in an elementary school in Danville.  Mrs. Griffin has been teaching in Danville Public Schools for a total of 16 years.

Surprisingly, orchestra was not Mrs. Griffin’s first job choice! At first she wanted to become an obstetrician, a person that delivers babies, but then later changed her mind and wanted to go to culinary school to become a baker. So why did she change her mind again?  Mrs. Griffin credits her orchestra teacher, Mr. Sexton, with influencing her final career choice.  Mr. Sexton helped Mrs. Griffin find a passion with her playing and helped her to see a future in the career. Mrs. Griffin commented, “All I can say is Thank you, Mr. Sexton!” 

When Mrs. Griffin was asked why she teaches, she responded, “I love my students and want to give them the experience and opportunities that I was given through music.” Her goal is to help students learn how to play as an ensemble and have an overall sense of belonging and bring the spark back to orchestra that they had before Covid. While Mrs. Griffin acknowledges that teaching orchestra the past two years with Covid has been difficult, she has learned to manage the best she can. She said, “Learning technology was the challenging part. It made teaching music through it harder when it used to be hands-on work.” She is happy her orchestra students are back together again and producing music as a group.

When I asked Mrs. Griffin why she chose to come back home after college and eventually teach at GW, she quickly exclaimed, “Why not choose GW?! It’s my home! Mr. Charles Sexton, who was my orchestra teacher, retired a few years ago and wanted me to continue the legacy. And here I am!” 

To finalize the interview, I asked Mrs. Griffin two final questions. I wanted to know what she thought the hardest part of being a teacher was and what advice she would give to students. Mrs. Griffin quickly commented, “The hardest part about being a teacher, in my opinion, is having to compete with the various distractions our students have today that were not prevalent 5-10 years ago.” Her final piece of advice to students is, “Never regret or give up on what goal you are trying to obtain and never be scared to try something no matter how big or small it is. Always be willing to try something new or out of your comfort zone.”

Thank you, Mrs. Griffin for all you do to make Danville Public School’s orchestras shine!