Graff brings diverse experience to intermediate schoolPublished 11:04am Friday, July 12, 2013
With a diverse background of education experience under his belt, Terry Graff views his role as the new principal at Hartselle Intermediate School as a unique opportunity.
“Hartselle Intermediate School is a new experience and challenge for all of us,” Graff said. “Not only am I new, but we also have new office workers and half of our teachers were at other schools last year. I reminded our teachers of that at a recent meeting. We have the unique opportunity to create a new school whose objective is to better prepare our students for the challenges they will face as junior high school students.”
“One of the big challenges we face is developing cohesiveness by working together as a team,” he added. “We are implementing collaborative planning time to help us reach that goal. For example, social studies teachers will share the same planning period. This will give them the opportunity to review student strengths and weaknesses based on test assessments and share information and ideas that will benefit their students. In other words, we want each teacher of each subject to teach the same thing and have the same expectations for their students.”
Graff used a sports analogy to explain his expectation for the intermediate school.
“An individual or a team in any sport has to work really hard and stay focused to reach the finals in postseason competition,” Graff stated. “Then, it becomes a matter of needing to shave off a few seconds or score more points than the opponent to win a championship. In our case, we want our students to do more in order for them to reach the top among the best.”
Graff didn’t land in Hartselle with the intermediate school principal’s job. He kept his eyes open and jumped when he saw an opening.
“I was looking for an administrator position to open up in Alabama, with a preference for North Alabama,” said Graff, a Huntsville native. “When the Hartselle job popped up, I applied immediately. It wasn’t because I was unhappy about my situation in Georgia but rather a desire for my wife and me to get back in Alabama where our families are.”
Graff said his elderly parents and a sister live in Huntsville, and several members of his wife’s family are located in the Tuscaloosa area.
Graff comes to Hartselle from Brunswick, Ga. where he served as director of alternative programs for the Glynn County School System. During his 30 years in education, he has been a teacher, a soccer coach and junior high and high school principals in Atlanta and Brunswick.
Graff is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a B. S. degree in biology. He earned a master’s degree in secondary education at Georgia State University and received a specialist degree in education administration from Southern Mississippi University.
His wife, Sharon, is a graduate of the University of Alabama and will be teaching math at Hartselle High School this fall.
They have a daughter, Jessica, a senior at the University of Georgia, studying special education, and a son, Tyler, a freshman on a swimming scholarship at Georgia Tech.
The Graffs spend most of their spare time following their children to swimming competitions. Both are U.S. Certified Swimming Officials.