Doreen Griffeth, an east Cobb area assistant superintendent, was named superintendent of Cullman City Schools in Cullman, Ala., just north of Birmingham, on Wednesday.
“I am excited to work with another high-achieving system and with a community and board who totally support their schools,” she said. “Although it is hard to leave Cobb County after 24 years, I am excited for this new challenge in my career.”
In the last 24 years, Griffeth has worked at LaBelle, Mountain View, Shallowford Falls and Rocky Mount elementary schools. She was promoted to the position of area assistant superintendent in 2011.
Griffeth is paid a salary of $109,002.
Griffeth, her husband Robert, and their four children moved to Marietta from Utah in 1989.
“We really love the South,” she said. “We were planning on just staying here for five years, but now you’re never going to be able to get me out of here.”
Griffeth said she learned about the superintendent position from her daughter, who lives in Birmingham.
“She was talking about me coming over to her area when she actually found out about the job opening,” Griffeth said. “She suggested that I apply (in May), so I did it.”
Griffeth said it was a rigorous process. She interviewed for the job on June 26.
“I spent the day touring all the schools and visiting with the school board,” she said. “It was an open interview with a reception, so I got to meet people in the community. They really want you to be a part of that community.”
Cullman City Schools, which Griffeth said is one of the top performing districts in Alabama, serves more than 3,000 students in five schools.
“I’ve had the support of Drs. (Cobb Superintendent Michael) Hinojosa, (Deputy Superintendent Cheryl) Hungerford and (Chief of Staff Angela) Huff, so I felt a lot of good support, and they suggested that I go for it,” she said.
Hinojosa said he wishes her lots of luck.
“Doreen was an outstanding leader in Cobb and supervised many of our outstanding schools,” he said. “Her great smile and superb leadership will be missed. We wish her well and once again other districts are recognizing the tremendous talent in Cobb County School District.”
Griffeth is the third area assistant superintendent to announce that they are leaving Cobb before next school year — Ed Thayer, an area superintendent over northeast Cobb, is retiring and Rick Beaulieu, an area superintendent over west Cobb, has taken a job in Atlanta Public Schools’ Human Resources Department.
Hinojosa announced that he would not replace Thayer due to budget restraints in Cobb, but he does anticipate replacing Beaulieu and Griffeth.
“Luckily we have a generic posting for area assistant superintendent and expect to have two names to go to the Board of Education for approval at the July (24) meeting,” he said.
Griffeth said her experience as an area superintendent, originally in charge of 18 schools before Thayer’s retirement increased it to 25 schools, will help in her new leadership role.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work with a lot of principals in high-performing schools, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to come to a smaller system and do the same thing,” she said, adding that she’ll still miss those people when she leaves.
Griffeth said her first day in Cullman is Aug. 1.