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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

At long last, School Board chairwoman April Griffin is a college graduate

April Griffin picked up her diploma from Eckerd College on Tuesday. She's been a member of the Hillsborough County School Board since 2006.

April Griffin picked up her diploma from Eckerd College on Tuesday. She's been a member of the Hillsborough County School Board since 2006.

28

January

April Griffin knows how to win an election and chairs the governing board for the eighth largest school district in the nation (Hillsborough County's.)

But something was always missing. A college degree.

Now she has one.

On Tuesday Griffin picked up the diploma from Eckerd College, where she graduated recently with highest honors. Her Bachelor of Arts is in organization studies, with a public leadership track. "I worked hard for this," Griffin said Tuesday.

Griffin, 46, is serving her third term on the School Board. Often a voice for the struggling student, she dropped out of high school after a difficult childhood in Tampa.

Griffin later earned her GED and worked as a substitute teacher. She got involved in Democratic politics and owned a business. She got married - has managed to stayed married 26 year, she says proudly - and raised two sons. She's served as an advocate for children and the elderly. 

She says she sometimes wishes adults in her life had been more forthcoming about their own struggles. "I looked around and I didn't know people's stories," she said. "I didn't know they had made it against all odds." It might have made a difference in the decisions she made in her youth. But it all turned out well, she said.

She won her last re-election with 65 percent of the vote.

 

[Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:34pm]

    

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