Ben Griggs, M.Ed., head of school
I grew up in Half Moon Bay, California, and have lived in the Bay Area for most of my life. I
spent my college years in Massachusetts, graduating from Amherst College in 2003 with a
BA in American Studies. After a stint in the newspaper business at the Washington Post in
DC, I returned to the Bay Area to become a high school English and music teacher.
I was originally drawn to working in education because of the many wonderful teachers
who inspired me throughout my educational development—particularly in high school. I
would not be the person that I am today without those great teachers, and I have deep
gratitude for them. Though being an educator entails endless challenges, I have found no
shortage of reward in it. In particular, the connections I’ve made with students through
teaching, tutoring, mentoring, and counseling have given me so much. I also love to see
young people succeed, particularly when the success has not come so naturally or easily.
Teaching at Mid-Peninsula High School in Menlo Park was highly instructional, particularly
in opening my eyes to the reality that fostering students’ social-emotional growth is
essential for creating a fruitful learning environment. I also loved mentoring students in
advisory, and enjoyed the kind of “counseling on the fly” that often happens in a small
So, after five years as a teacher, I decided that I wanted to shift to a more social-emotional
and psychological domain, and I entered UC Berkeley’s School Psychology program in the
Graduate School of Education. In graduate school, I studied human development,
counseling, teacher consultation, psycho-educational testing, as well as academic theory
and research in a variety of educational fields. After working at the SEL-focused Nueva
School in San Mateo, I’m now very happy to put what I’ve learned to work at The Marin
When I’m not at TMS, you’ll most likely find me playing the guitar and writing songs. I have
played in various rock bands for well over ten years now, and have spent many hours
playing, recording and sometimes even touring. I live with my partner Whitney and our daughter in Oakland, where we enjoy hiking, cycling, and finding great new places to eat.
A Change of Leadership in the Midst of a Pandemic
In Fall of 2019, after nearly a decade of service, Dr. Barbara J. Brown announced her retirement as Head of School at The Marin School. Known nearly as much for her love of dance as her outstanding leadership, Barbara led TMS through many critical challenges and positive changes. While she is no longer at our school, Barbara continues to support our local community by recently becoming the part-time Executive Director at LITA (Love is the Answer) Marin, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing loneliness and isolation of older people in Marin County.
Fortunately, at the time of Barbara’s retirement, TMS was prepared to welcome a TMS veteran to the important role of Head of School. Former Assistant Head of School Ben Griggs, M.Ed. took on the responsibilities of Head in the Fall of 2020, while we were, collectively, about to enter a new school year dictated by COVID-19’s many restrictions. Ben took on this new challenge with exuberance, creativity, and a wonderful sense of calm.
“The timing of all of this has been interesting to say the least! Starting during the pandemic has actually provided me the opportunity to grow out of a comfort zone that most educators and administrators were probably familiar with in the days when we were able to do in-person learning. When the public health mandate for distance learning was announced, everyone at TMS rallied and transitioned to virtual learning fairly seamlessly.” said Ben. “Now that we’re in a new school year, our virtual academic and social programs are proceeding quite successfully, due to TMS’s wonderful teachers, caring staff, and intentionally small classes. These are crucial elements of our small-school dynamic. Our low student / teacher ratio means that even while we are all online, our outstanding faculty can provide more focused instruction and guidance, and the student experience includes more personal, meaningful interactions with peers and teachers.”
Ben Griggs grew up in Half Moon Bay and has been a Bay Area resident for most of his adult life. He earned a BA in American Studies from Amherst College, and a Masters in Psychology from the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. While pursuing his graduate degree, he studied human development, counseling, teacher consultation, psycho-educational testing, as well as academic theory, which are all vitally important in his role as TMS’s Head of School.
He explained, “I was drawn to working in education because of the many wonderful teachers who inspired me throughout my educational development—particularly in high school. I would not be the person that I am today without those great teachers, and I have deep gratitude for them.”
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