Ranney Head of School, Dr. John W. Griffith, joined the community in July 2013. He is the fourth Head of School to oversee Ranney since its establishment in 1960.
Dr. Griffith previously spent eight years as Headmaster of Tennessee’s Battle Ground Academy, a co-educational, independent day school. He began his career as an English teacher and College Counselor at Montgomery Bell Academy, in Nashville, Tennessee, a school known for being the inspiration for the film Dead Poets’ Society. Following a sabbatical at Teachers College as a Joseph Klingenstein Fellow, Dr. Griffith returned to MBA as an Academic Dean. He was subsequently Head of Upper School at the Miami Valley School, where he met his wife, Dana. Dr. Griffith holds an M.Phil and D.Phil in Modern British Literature from Lincoln College, the University of Oxford, an M.A. in Private School Leadership from Columbia University, and a B.A. Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Middlebury College. His doctoral thesis was published by Oxford University Press as an English monograph on Joseph Conrad.
Dr. Griffith has won a number of awards and fellowships, including from the Fulbright Memorial Fund, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and as a Head of School Visiting Fellow at the Klingenstein Center. He has worked on and headed numerous accreditation visits in Tennessee, Ohio, and New Jersey, and served on the Board of the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools. He currently is a member of the NJAIS Accreditation Committee and serves on the NJAIS Board.
Dr. Griffith was born in Edison, New Jersey, and grew up in New Hampshire, where he graduated from the Derryfield School. He is married to Mrs. Dana Griffith; their daughter, Claire, attends Ranney’s Middle School. A lover of literature and a firm believer in staying connected to the classroom, Dr. Griffith regularly teaches an Upper School English elective. He also writes poetry, including an annual poem that he delivers to the graduating class at each commencement.
“Ranney reminds me a lot of the school where I grew up, Derryfield, a progressive day school in Manchester, New Hampshire. As a student, I could feel that Derryfield, like Ranney, was a dynamic place,” he said upon joining Ranney School.
“The metrics that were important to me when I looked at Ranney were not enrollment patterns, standardized testing, fundraising measures or the size of the campus. It was more intangible: the opportunity to continue my own growth as a head, to lead a school that shared my values and seemed ambitious to grow and improve, and represented a chance to live with my family in a place that would be a home for all of us.”