Meridian High School starts year with new, familiar faces

Bill Graham/The Meridian Star

New staff at Meridian High School include back row: Tawanda McClelland, assistant principal, Vanessa Reed, lead teacher, Eddie Easley, assistant principal and Kevin Conley, assistant principal; front row: Fred Liddell, assistant principal and Joe Griffin, principal. 

Meridian High School is welcoming several educators for the 2020-2021 school year.

Principal Joe Griffin succeeds Victor Hubbard,  who took a job as principal at Hattiesburg High School. 

Griffin has 18 years of experience in education, including roles as a teacher, coach, administrator and principal. His most recent job was at Moss Point High School, where he helped move the school from a D to a B rating.

Griffin received his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master's degree in secondary education from Delta State University, and a bachelor's degree in English from Belhaven College. He has held principal roles at West Bolivar High in the Mississippi Delta, Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood, and Heidelberg High School in East Jasper School District.

He has also served as an adjunct professor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Coahoma Community College, and Mississippi Valley State University.

Meridian students are starting the year with online learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our number one goal as we set off into the school year is to provide our students with an opportunity to improve their learning," Griffin said. 

Tawanda McClelland, who has been with the district for 18 years, comes to the high school after serving as assistant principal at T.J. Harris Upper Elementary for several years. At MHS, she will be the assistant principal of multi-tier systems of support.

Eddie Easley, who is also the head baseball coach, is the new assistant principal at the high school. Easley was previously an assistant principal at Crestwood Elementary. 

Easley said one of his goals is to build relationships with students and teachers.

“Pandemic or not, we are just going to carry on and do our best to reach these children, educate our children,” he said. 

New Assistant Principal Kevin Conley, who is originally from Memphis, has 10 years of experience in education, including teaching math and coaching basketball. Conley will oversee the math department and credit recovery.

New Assistant Principal Fred Liddell, who has been with the district for five years, will supervise the exceptional education department at MHS. 

“I'm very proud and excited about being a Wildcat,” he said.

Vanessa Reed, who has been at MHS for 17 years, is the school's new lead teacher. Reed will help in the social studies department and assist graduating seniors.

Tiffany Fisher, who was previously an assistant principal at MHS, is the new associate principal at the school’s Freshman Academy. Fisher has 14 years of experience in education, with three spent at the high school. Her duties include supervising the science department and Title I program.

Fisher said that even with the pandemic, she's ready for the new school year.

“This year is unlike any year, but I'm looking forward to the challenges and growth this year will bring,” she said.

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