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Toriano Griggs named new associate principal

Mr. Griggs began career in education in 1998

Mr.+Toriano+Griggs+was+named+associate+principal+of+Richards+beginning+with+the+2017-18+school+year.+Mr.+Griggs+has+been+an+administrator+at+Lyons+Township.
Mr. Toriano Griggs was named associate principal of Richards beginning with the 2017-18 school year. Mr. Griggs has been an administrator at Lyons Township.

Mr. Toriano Griggs was named associate principal of Richards beginning with the 2017-18 school year. Mr. Griggs has been an administrator at Lyons Township.

Alaric Ortiz

Alaric Ortiz

Mr. Toriano Griggs was named associate principal of Richards beginning with the 2017-18 school year. Mr. Griggs has been an administrator at Lyons Township.

Alaric Ortiz, Staff writer

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Toriano Griggs has been hired a the new associate principal. Griggs, who is coming to Richards from Lyons Township, has an extensive background in teaching.

Mr. Griggs began is teaching career at Glenbard West in 1998 and worked there for eight years before family commitments forced him to look for a job closer to home.

“I said the only place I would work is Carl Sandburg because it was two minutes from my house, and as it turned out, they ended up having an opening at the end of the school year, and they hired me,” Mr. Griggs said.

After a year at Sandburg Mr. Girggs decided to leave teaching.  

“I needed to take care of my wife and my newborn twins. It ended up being four years. My wife’s health got better, and in the meantime we had another child. The funny thing is, once you’re out of education, and then you try to get back in: It’s almost impossible. People are like ‘Well, why did he leave?’ and they always think that there’s a conspiracy behind it,” Mr. Griggs said.

Mr. Griggs entire teaching career had been working with students in an ED program, which is a self-contained program where there were usually 10 to 15 students who he taught all subjects and the students stayed with him all day.

When Mr. Griggs returned to education he continued to teach in a similar program at Hopewell High School before he got a position of as dean of students at Glenbard West.

“I was an administrator for three years. After three years of that, I went to Lyons Township, which has been a fantastic move for me there. Now I have an opportunity here at 218,” Mr. Griggs said.

While Mr. Griggs is excited about becoming a Bulldog, originally, he wasn’t even thinking about teaching children. He started out in the military.

“I never had plans on going into teaching, and when I got out of the military and started to go to school, I had to work, I had to pay my bills, and then I worked maintenance one summer at an elementary school. When the school year started, the principal asked me if I would be interested in being a classroom PERA. We worked it out so I could still work and take my classes. I was going to a junior college back then. My first day was in a kindergarten class, and I tell you, if I had to teach kindergarten students again, I think I would pull my hair out. That is a crazy job, but I realized that I connected with kids, and kids connected with me,” Mr. Griggs said.

Mr. Griggs has had CHSD218 on his mind for a long time, and finally has fulfilled his wish.

“I’ve looked at 218 for several years now. I live just a district over. I always looked at 218 because I knew it was a district that had resources and they were willing to try things to help kids, and I knew that there were kids here more like me,” Mr. Griggs said.

“I look forward to working with kids that are like me. That was a big reason why I came here, because I know that there are kids here that struggle, there are high functioning students as well, but I know that there are kids that struggle, I know that these are the kids I connect with the most, and these are the kids I hope I can make a difference with, so really, I’m looking forward to getting here and working with the staff, and working with the kids,” Mr. Griggs said.

 

 

Outside of school, Mr. Griggs’ family spends time together mostly by playing sports. Mr. Griggs coached when he first started teaching and played baseball and football in college.

“I’m extremely competitive to this day, I had to tone it down a bit because I was so competitive, but I’d just gotten married, and I was coaching with my hyper focus. I’d be up at 2:30 in the morning game planning against Hinsdale Central. It started to really take a toll on my new relationship with my wife, and when my son was 11, my wife decided I needed to be home more, so I quit coaching,” Mr. Griggs said.

His wife suggested that when the kids were old enough he coach them so now he coaches baseball, basketball and football for his 10-year-old twin sons.

“No matter what’s going on in our lives, we leave Sunday for family day. I come home and do homework with them. Yesterday, I was out in the yard playing pitch and catch with my boys yesterday. It’s just something that’s allowed me to spend time with them, it’s allowed me to make sure that they’re okay, it’s allowed me to be with them as a father that I never had. We just find time wherever we can,” Mr. Griggs said.

Teaching and parenting are two similar things, and experience in both has caused preparation in each other for Mr. Griggs.

“I think teaching has made me a better parent. I deal with kids that are in crisis. That’s what I do all day long. Parents get a phone call from me, and immediately, they’re fearful, so sometimes I feel like Darth Vader walking around,” Mr. Griggs said.

Despite feeling like Darth Vader, his own experiences as a parent help him talk to other parents.

“The thing that I tell parents who are in crisis with their kids, I tell them all the time: No matter what, make sure you love them. Now, I’m all for holding kids accountable. I’m all for discipline and making sure that kids understand the mistake that they made, and I’m all for kids taking responsibility for their mistakes, and that’s the only way you can learn from your mistakes, but I don’t have to discipline by yelling and screaming. I try to let parents know that, no matter what you do, it’s so important to make sure that you love them. You might not have liked the mistake that they made, you might not be in love with their behavior, but you love them. So, I don’t know if parenting has made me a better teacher, or if teaching has made me a better parent, but I would say that there are things that go back and forth both ways,” Mr. Griggs said.

Mr. Griggs main responsibilities will be operations and daily operations in the building including the master schedule. 

“I’m hoping to work hand in hand with Mr. Jacobson, and trying to increase the vigor here at school, and increase student achievement, a lot of that will have to do with what we decide upon,” Mr. Griggs said.

 

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Toriano Griggs named new associate principal